C.J. Cron had never played a Major League game until this past season. He spent the beginning of the season at Triple-A Salt Lake where he played 49 games, before getting the call to big leagues. He hit .316/.385/.511 with seven home runs in 190 at-bats. That was good enough to earn him a spot on the big league roster as a part time designated hitter and late inning replacement. He had his good times and his bad. Let’s start with the good.
The Good: He showed extra-base hit power in limited at-bats. He recorded 24 extra-base hits, out of his 62, 11 going over the wall for a home run. That is something that you like to see. He will get caught up to the speed of the game as he gets more at-bats, but he showed he has the ability to hit at the big league level.
He started his time in Los Angeles hitting the ball well. In his first month he hit .301, with seven doubles, one triple and three long balls. Add that up and that’s 11 hits, and he had 22 overall. Again, I go back to the gap power that he showed, and will continue to show next season.
He got his feet wet and showed that he has great ability and that is mainly what you want. He will continue to get more innings due to Albert Pujols getting older and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play a little bit of left field next season, if Josh Hamilton goes down with an injury.
The Bad: It is not that this is a terrible thing because it is expected with a young player, but he struck out a lot. He had 61 strikeouts, compared to 62 hits. That will get better with time, but I had to mention it. The more at-bats he gets consistently and not just every now and then will be good for him.
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The one thing that did stick out was his production down the stretch. From the All-Star Break to the end of the season hit .205 with 23 strikeouts and just four walks. That could be due to a number of things, one of them being fatigue. He had never played a 162 game season, and was probably wearing down towards the end. Other than those two things, you can’t really beat on the guy too bad, because he did have a productive season at the big league level.
The Future: I expect Cron to make the big league roster out of Spring Training and should be the everyday DH and fill in at first base and possibly left field when needed. Mike Sociscia will find a way to get his bat in the lineup any way he can, even if it is towards the bottom of the order.
The FanGraphs steamer has him playing over 120 games for the Angels and showing power, but again the strikeouts being the issue. I don’t necessarily disagree with them on this one. Even with one more year under his belt, I think he will still strikeout quite a bit. But I think you take the good with the bad because he has the ability to put the ball in the gap or over the wall and drive in a good amount of runs. It should be a step up season for him in 2015 and think he continues to show that he belongs.