C.J. Cron
C.J. Cron
28-Year-Old First Baseman1B
Tampa Bay Rays
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Cron has seemingly hit a wall in the major leagues and there's not much to suggest he's going to take his game to another level in his age-28 season. The quality of his contact improved in 2017 (35.8 percent hard-hit rate, 6.7 Brls/PA), but he put bat to ball with far less consistency, with his strikeout rate leaping from 16.9 percent to 25.7 percent. His OBP against right-handed pitching fell nearly 30 points to .309 as he walked just 5.9 percent of the time for the season, and he didn't show any real growth against lefties (.233 average, .290 OBP). Cron missed some time with a foot injury, was demoted several times throughout the campaign and fizzled late while serving in an everyday role. He was also a negative in the field, grading out just barely above replacement level overall. While he figures to get another chance to play regularly to begin 2018, Cron could be relegated to part-time duty with a slow start. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a one-year, $2.3 million contract with the Angels in January of 2018, avoiding arbitration. Traded to the Rays in February of 2018.
Slugs 30th homer
1BTampa Bay Rays
September 29, 2018
Cron went 1-for-3 with a solo home run and a walk in Saturday's win over the Blue Jays.
Cron deposited a Ryan Borucki fastball into the seats in the bottom of the second. He's reached the 30-homer benchmark in his career-best campaign, during which he's posted 74 RBI, scored 67 runs and slashed .256/.324/.497 while leaning heavily on production versus southpaws (a standout .381 wOBA and .905 OPS in that split heading into this contest). Cron, who turns 29 in January, should at least retain that type of role heading into his second year of arbitration in 2019 yet might get a chance to earn more depending on Tampa Bay's roster construction.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .820 365 43 16 51 1 .267 .329 .491
Since 2016vs Right .776 1009 115 46 149 5 .257 .315 .461
2018vs Left .930 170 24 8 21 0 .307 .376 .553
2018vs Right .767 390 44 22 53 1 .231 .300 .467
2017vs Left .790 93 10 6 17 1 .233 .290 .500
2017vs Right .724 278 29 10 39 2 .253 .309 .415
2016vs Left .667 102 9 2 13 0 .234 .284 .383
2016vs Right .829 341 42 14 57 2 .291 .337 .492
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
Since 2016Home .775 674 75 26 90 4 .258 .332 .443
Since 2016Away .799 700 83 36 109 2 .262 .306 .493
2018Home .753 269 31 11 34 0 .235 .327 .426
2018Away .869 291 37 19 40 1 .269 .320 .550
2017Home .825 190 20 8 28 3 .275 .358 .467
2017Away .656 181 19 8 28 0 .221 .249 .407
2016Home .758 215 24 7 28 1 .269 .316 .442
2016Away .824 228 27 9 41 1 .286 .333 .490
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Stat Review
How does C.J. Cron compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Cron took over as the Halos' primary first baseman but was sidelined about six weeks after breaking his hand in early July. His skills continued to trend in the right direction, as he whiffed less and walked more for the second straight season. However, his 5.4 percent walk rate is still far too low, especially if Cron wants to hit in the meat of the order. Cron's power ticked up, but it was mostly an increase in doubles as he matched 2015's home run output in 40 more plate appearances. Cron has actually had more success against right-handed pitching in his career (.789 OPS) than lefties (.694 OPS) . As such, there's room for growth if his numbers improve versus southpaws. For those who miss out on a stud first baseman early, Cron makes for a perfect fallback option with a solid floor and intriguing power upside.
Cron began the season as the team's everyday DH after undergoing wrist surgery in the offseason, but was sent back to Triple-A Salt Lake after hitting just .143 in May. The former first-round pick made another stop in the minors after struggling upon his return, but was able to rebound, finishing the season with 16 homers and a .739 OPS in 378 at-bats. Cron is still a work in progress, as his walk rate remained disappointing (4.2%) and his ISO dropped nearly 20 points (from .194 to .177) but his 20 percent strikeout rate represents nearly a four percent decrease from his first year, while his 80.3% contact rate is up from the 77.3% he tallied in 2014. Cron may not have done enough to label his season a full-fledged breakout, but he will almost certainly be back with the Angels to begin 2016, and could fill in at first base if Albert Pujols isn't ready to begin the season after undergoing foot surgery this winter.
Considered by some to be the top hitting prospect in the Angels' system entering 2014, Cron hit the ground running after making his major league debut in May, tallying slugging percentages of .548 and .552 in May and June, respectively. As quickly as it started, however, Cron's run of success seemed to end, as he did not post an OPS higher than .656 in the final three months of the season, resulting in a temporary demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake in August. He was recalled when rosters expanded in September, but was a part-time player down the stretch. Cron played to his minor league numbers in his first go around in the major leagues, providing big power (.194 ISO), but combining it with a suspect walk rate (4.0%). He also struck out far too often, whiffing 61 times in 79 games. Cron could wind up on the small side of a platoon with the left-handed hitting Matt Joyce as a DH tandem in 2015, and the 25-year-old should spell Albert Pujols at first base when Pujols needs a day without defensive responsibilities, but it remains to be seen if he will be given enough playing time to prove that he was worthy of his prospect status.
Cron saw his power numbers dip sharply after being promoted to Double-A Arkansas at the beginning of the 2013 season, as he slugged just .428 after slugging .516 with High-A Inland Empire in 2012. This, coupled with a remarkably low walk rate (4.1%), led to a pedestrian .746 OPS for the season. Cron makes enough contact (14.7% strikeout rate in 2013) that he may be able to offset his lack of plate discipline, but if he can't get his power numbers back to 2012 levels, he may struggle going forward. It should be noted, however, that the park effects at Arkansas suppress offense, specifically power. Cron hit well during his time in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .413 with five homers in 80 at-bats, and remains one of the best prospects in the Angels' system. He is expected to begin his 2014 season back in Arkansas, but he may quickly move to Triple-A Salt Lake and try to force his way into the picture in Anaheim with the departure of Mark Trumbo.
Cron was the 17th overall pick in the 2011 draft and had an impressive showing at High-A Inland Empire last season after tearing up the rookie league the year before. He hit 27 homers and only struck out 72 times in 557 plate appearances for Inland Empire, but the Angels have to be concerned that he only managed to draw 17 walks all year. As promising of a talent as Cron is, he may stall out if he doesn't improve his plate discipline in the coming years. If he's able to do that, the sky is the limit for the 6-foot-4, 225-pound, 23-year-old slugger.
The Angels selected Cron with the 17th pick in the 2011 draft. Though he didn’t finish 2011 due to a knee injury, he posted a 1.000 OPS in 159 plate appearances in the rookie league. Cron should recover from his injury by the start of the season and open the season at Low-A Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League. While he is one of the Angels’ better prospects, the offseason signing of Albert Pujols blocks his long-term path. As a result, he could be most valuable to the team as a trade chip if his development takes place as expected.
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Homers in loss
1BTampa Bay Rays
September 27, 2018
Cron went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in Thursday's loss to the Yankees.
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Slams 28th homer
1BTampa Bay Rays
September 23, 2018
Cron went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a solo homer in Tampa Bay's 5-2 win Sunday against the Blue Jays.
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Rips first three-bagger of season
1BTampa Bay Rays
September 20, 2018
Cron went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple, a walk and a run in a win over the Rangers on Wednesday.
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Clubs 27th homer
1BTampa Bay Rays
September 16, 2018
Cron went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run, two RBI and a walk Sunday against the Athletics.
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On base twice in win
1BTampa Bay Rays
September 10, 2018
Cron went 1-for-4 with an RBI double and a walk in a win over the Orioles on Sunday.
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