Matt Joyce and C.J. Cron were looking like the platooning DH split to enter the season. When Josh Hamilton went down with his shoulder surgery and subsequent drug violation those two became more than just platoon partners. But, right-handed hitting Cron was still not likely to be an everyday player due to his defensive liabilities. Where we sit now, he looks like a player you can’t keep out of the line-up.
His bat has always been his calling card and this spring its getting noticed. If you put up numbers like those below that’s bound to happen.
That kind of Production will force a Manger to put you in the lineup, and that’s exactly what Cron needs to do. His glove is subpar as a first baseman and there’s no other position it’s capable of filling in. That limits ways to find playing time. His bat also requires a Vladimir Guerrero like ability to make contact on balls out of the zone because he doesn’t take pitches. Even with those great spring numbers and an OPS 0f 1,174, his OBP is only 17 points higher than his batting average. And, Dipoto has clearly favored players with a good eye.
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If his power and contact can turn into the kind of production which produces RBI’s and Runs at the torrid pace he has this spring, you won’t find many Angels fans missing the bat of Josh Hamilton. Many claimed Josh Hamilton returning to form was what the Angels needed after the Howie Kendrick trade, but Cron could provide that lift instead. If the walk rate scares you, remember that Howie and Hamilton weren’t exactly on base kings themselves and that Cron provides a far greater power potential than Kendrick.
If Joyce fills in for Hamilton in left field the majority of the time we could see Cron be the primary DH. The fact that Albert Pujols shares the same position in the field is an ideal fit for the Angels to keep Cron in the lineup while giving Pujols plenty of rest as a DH. Given the fact that Pujols hit 72 points higher as a DH last season that platoon split makes more sense than the Joyce/Cron platoon. Despite his limitations there are plenty of ways for Mike Scioscia to keep Cron active.
At 25-years-old it looks like Cron may be ready to fulfill the role of slugger that many projected when he was a first round pick back in 2011. If this spring is the sign of a maturing young player, Angels fans could be watching a lot of Cron and his powerful bat this season.