Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Upgrading Cron-ic Power Problems

Last year I just did one post about the Twins' off-season moves, and after that post, they didn't really do much. I said then and I'll say it again now - I really hope they aren't done making moves! Their first major league contract of the Off-season went to C.J. Cron via a waiver claim from the Tampa Bay Rays. Cron was coming off a season in which he hit a career high 30 homers. Cron played 61 games at 1B and 70 games at DH. Right now, he's penciled in as the Twins' regular first baseman.

Cron played college ball at the University of Utah and was a first round pick of the Angels in 2011. He made big noise in high A ball the following season, hitting 27 homers at Inland Empire. In 2013 he dazzled in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .413 and slugging .700 in 20 games. The performance left a lasting impression and was well on his way to making the show. His debut came in May 2014, going 3-5 against the Rangers.

Cron had power potential to spare, but was in a crowded situation in LA, with Albert Pujols still playing regularly at 1st, as well as DH. Cron never played more than 113 games in a season for the Angels, sometimes due to injury (A broken hand one season, another season it was a foot injury), but mostly due to sharing time with other hitters. In 2018, the Rays made a trade to acquire Cron and played him regularly to replace the departed Logan Morrison. He responded with career highs in hits, doubles, homers, RBI.

Cron strikes out a lot (22% of the time), doesn't draw walks (5%), but he does hit homers (his .240 isolated power in 2018 would have led the Twins- it was 11th in the AL). For a team that has had Joe Mauer as their regular first baseman for the last 5 seasons, it will be a big change - will it result in a return to the post season?

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