Grading the 2017 LA Angels: C.J. Cron


The LA Angels had an up and down season in 2017, much like their 1st baseman C.J. Cron.  In the end Cron’s production was slightly below average. The Angels followed suit with a slightly below average record.

C.J. Cron started out cold as ice for the LA Angels hitting .213 with only two homers and 14 through the first half of the season.  At one point during that stretch Cron was on the disabled list for a couple of weeks and then he was also sent down to the minors as well. Nothing seemed to be able to shake Cron from this slump and it was even looking like the Angels might be on the verge of releasing the four-year veteran.

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Then something magical happened Cron started to hit and he kept hitting over the next two months smacking 10 homers and driving in 26 runs over the next 36 games while hitting .303 (37 for 122).  The Angels started to get hot as well they went 22-14 over that span and climbed into the wild-card race even leading the race for about a week span in August.

However, as the saying goes, ‘What goes up must come down’ and while Cron was still mildly productive in September his average dropped in the final month as did the Angels wild-card hopes.  Cron went 21 for 95 (.221) with four homers and 17 runs batted in.  He finished with a .248 batting average with 16 homers and 56 runs batted in.  Not a bad season especially from where he started, but still not what you would want from your first baseman.

So going forward what should the Angels do with Cron is the million dollar question.  The good news is Cron is under club control for two more seasons so he will not break the bank if the Angels decide to again go with him at first base.  The one number that is still distressing to many in the Angels organization is his numbers against left-handed pitching.

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Cron is a right-handed batter and they tend to do better against left-handed pitchers. However, in Cron’s case that is not the case.  Cron’s production against right-handed pitching is much better than he is against lefties. Cron hit .233 against lefties compared to .253 against righties.

You may say that is just an anomaly and it will be different next season.  But if you dig deeper, Cron has been this way the last three seasons as well. In 2016 it was more noticeable as Cron hit .234 against southpaws with only two homers and nine RBIs compared to .291 vs. righties with 14 homers and 42 runs batted in.   While Cron does not get nearly as many at-bats against lefties due to this very reason, when he does face a left-hander he just does not produce as well as when he goes up against a righty.

Next: Andrelton Simmons the Angels 2017 MVP

In conclusion, I still feel C.J. Cron has a higher ceiling from what he has shown, and the money is right as well, so I believe the Angels should keep Cron and plug him in at first base full-time again.  Luis Valbuena can give Cron a few days off, but the Angels need to commit to him as their every day first baseman for one last season in order to see what they truly have: A Diamond in the Rough.

C.J. Cron’s season grade – C+