Why C.J. Cron Has Suddenly Become A Must Buy On Draft Day

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It had looked like C.J. Cron was primed for a breakout campaign, but after the Angels acquired Luis Valbuena the narrative changed.  Instead the chatter was that Cron could ultimately be traded, with Valbuena operating as the team’s Albert Pujols insurance/DH.

However Valbuena returned to the lineup after nearly two weeks on the sidelines due to sore legs and will now be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks thanks to a hamstring injury.  Cron, on the other hand, has been enjoying a monster spring (stats are through Thursday):

  • C.J. Cron – .340 (18-53), 3 HR, 7 RBI, 10 R, 2 SB
  • Luis Valbuena – .200 (5-25), 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R, 0 SB

Even more impressive may be the fact that Cron has struck out 5 times, though it’s far too early to say that he’s corrected the main concern that he has hovering over him.  While his 16.9% strikeout rate last season was solid, his command of the strike zone left a lot to be desired (11.0% SwStr%, 38.0% O-Swing%).  A few more strong AB may further help to mask the issue, though we also can’t ignore that he was a bit better in ’15 so an improvement isn’t impossible.

There also is no doubting his power potential, having had 43 extra base hits in just 407 AB a year ago (25 doubles, 2 triples and 16 home runs).  He’s had similar success thus far, with 4 doubles and 1 triple.  That’s equated to an .623 SLG.

This isn’t a situation of translating a few AB into a definitive conclusion.  This is identifying a buying opportunity, with Cron potentially claiming the starting first base job for the entire season.  For those who have purchased the 2017 Rotoprofessor Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, you know that he was listed as one of our sleepers (a 4-star sleeper) as we said:

“It’s hard to call someone who hit .278 with 16 HR in 407 AB last season a sleeper, but most appear primed to ignore him.  Albert Pujols will have to see significant AB at DH, which should give Cron opportunity.  An improvement in his production against changeups (.075 BAA in ’16) would lead to even more success.”

Thus far it doesn’t appear that Cron has been ignored, with an average ADP of 240.98 in NFBC formats.  Still, even at that price it’s not a terrible buying opportunity.  Cron has the upside to fully blossom and emerge as a borderline Top 10 first baseman by year’s end.

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, STATS

*** Order Rotoprofessor’s 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for Just $7.00 By Clicking Here!!   Not only will you get all the help you need to dominate your fantasy draft, but you will also be entered to win a Noah Syndergaard autographed baseball, complete with “Thor” inscription! ***

Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catcher03/20/1702/28/17
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Shortstop02/13/1703/15/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
03/19/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
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Relief Pitcher01/02/17--

3 comments

  1. BBBOSTON says:

    Rotoprofessor;

    As I gear up for my auction, can you recommend how one should think about guys like JD Martinez, Hosmer, Cain, Moustakis, who clearly could be traded mid-season. In Martinez’s circumstance, is he just a hands off, given he’ll be out for most the first part of the year and then could get traded, just as he’s coming off IR?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I wouldn’t let the potential for a trade be the reason to avoid them because what if they land in a better situation (like getting traded to Baltimore or Colorado).

  2. Biff Malibu says:

    I believe valbuena is still a sizable threat to CJ at bats even with injury. I understand the LAA’s front office n mgmt make some considerably critical moves but this is just another instance of publicly disbelieving potential starters like revere n maybin. The $ paid leads me to believe there’s some type of long term damage to pujols. However, that’s just a matter of opinion. Still, valbuena when healthy, is highly likely to steal at bats upon returning. Therefore, leave speculation to someone else and grab a more established 1B from extreme top tier as talent drops fast for a position we’re used to being rather deep

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