The Los Angeles Angels had a lot of question marks going into the 2016 season. One of the biggest was which C.J. Cron would show up. The one that struggled to hit his weight in the 1st half, or the one who smacked 15 HR’s in last 2 months.
The Los Angeles Angels have seen more than their share of obstacles in the first third of the 2016 season
.Currently, the team has nine players on the disabled list and they sit at the bottom of the American League West. This season they have been in first place, last place and everywhere in the middle.
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Even with all of the disappointment that the season has brought, some bright spots have shown through. One of the those bright spots has been the recent offensive production of 1st baseman/designated hitter C.J. Cron. Cron was called up in 2014 during his age 24 season. He was in and out of the big leagues most of the season but was far more ahead of schedule than he was projected to be.
His rookie season for the Angels saw him produce a .256/.289/.450 slash line with 11 home runs and 37 runs batted in, in 253 plate appearances.
His sophomore season was full of ups and downs. He started up with the big league club but after a disappointing first part of the season, he was sent down. Then when he came back up he would go on to hit 15 of his 16 home runs after being recalled with a .262 average and drove in 51 runs.
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So far his start to the 2016 season has seen him stay in the big leagues, which is an important milestone for Cron. He has already shown improvement from last season. He started the season slow (like most of the team) but has picked it up. He has 5 homeruns, including two in one game on Tuesday to beat the Tigers. His second coming in the bottom of the 9th inning, in walk-off fashion. His 24 RBIs are already more than half than he had the in the entire 2015 season.
He also makes a lot of contact with the ball and doesn’t strikeout a lot. Not an attribute commonly associated with a corner infielder/middle of the line-up kind of guy. Another big thing for Cron this season has been his ability to hit the ball the other way more consistently.
What is the cause for Cron to be more consistent than he has ever been? Some would say that he has consistently been a baseball player this season. Wait, what? Cron spent most of the first two seasons as the designated hitter. He could never really get in a rhythm. He would hit and then go sit down about four times a game. This season has seen him play first base 35 times already. Compare that to last season when he played only 58 games at first. His defense and offsense have both improved due to him being able to actually get to do both.
Cron still has a ways to go to be a true middle of the order bat that the Angels envisioned him to be when they drafted him in the first round and 17th overall in the 2011 amateur draft out of the University of Utah. But with the promising production he has shown so far this season he seems to be on track to do just that and be that player.