Just Outside The AFL Top 20—C J Cron

The last time I wrote about Los Angeles Angels prospect
C J Cron he was beginning to show promise as a power hitting first baseman.

I wrote about him following his participation in the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field in New York. His dad Chris, a former Major League first baseman and now a coach in the Detroit Tigers system, was his first base coach in that game.

C J was a first round selection of the Angels in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He was the 17th player taken overall.

After watching Cron play for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, it is even more convincing that he has the type of home run power that can be game changing.

Cron led the AFL in hitting with a whopping .413 batting average covering 80 at-bats in 20 games.

I saw him hit the Spring Training scoreboard at Ho Ho Kam Park in Mesa. It’s a towering drive, and he made it look easy.

Cron was the starting first baseman for the East Division squad in the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game on November 2, 2013.

He and two other players, White Sox outfielder Jared Mitchell and Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw hit five home runs, one less than Cubs prospect Kris Bryant’s league leading six.

Cron, a big man at 6-foot-4, 235-pounds, also had six doubles and a triple among his 33 Fall League hits. He struck out only 11 times.
For a middle of the order power hitter, that’s extremely good bat control and contact hitting.

Cron, a right-handed hitter, played at Double-A Arkansas this past season. He hit 14 home runs and drove in 83 runs on his way to hitting .274 in 134 games. He had 565 plate appearances.

Cron, who began his career in 2011 at rookie level Orem, has hit 54 Minor League home runs in parts of three seasons. Despite having a torn labrum and ultimately needing surgery, he hit 27 homers playing for Class A Advanced Inland Empire in 2012.

Defensively, Cron can play Major League quality first base. He is agile and moves well around the bag. He reduced his errors from 19 at Inland Empire to ten at Arkansas.

Since I last scouted and wrote about Cron, his plate discipline, his pitch recognition and his overall approach at the plate have improved markedly. But then again, that’s the purpose of development programs.

Cron is seeing the ball out of the pitcher’s hand and is using patience and selectivity in his approach. He isn’t swinging at nearly as many pitches out of the strike zone, and is refusing to chase breaking balls.

C. J. has an opportunity to be a dynamic hitter.

At 23-years old and having had experience playing for the University of Utah, Cron has faced good pitching since college and he may be nearing a time when he can be considered for a big league role.

Given the presence of Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo as first basemen currently on the Angels roster, Cron makes an excellent addition to the team’s power hitting depth.

While Kris Bryant won the Joe Black Most Valuable Player Award from the Arizona Fall League, Cron certainly was worthy of consideration.
His bat helped his club to the Championship Game, which they lost 2-0, to the Surprise team of the West Division.

Put quite simply, Cron has the look of the winner. A big winner, at that.

Follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff and read my scouting profiles at MLBPipeline.com.

That’s it. I’m done.

1 Comment

Nice article Bernie. Cron looks like a great prospect for the Angels. I saw him in the Fall League and he hit the ball hard. With his power I think it won’t be long before he makes it to the big leagues.

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