by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
C.J. Cron is a player that has often tempted us with some upside, but generally he’s been a non-factor in the Major Leagues… That is until 2018, when he finally got an opportunity for regular AB and the results were there in his first season in Tampa Bay:
501 At Bats
.253 Batting Average (127 Hits)
30 Home Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.323 On Base Percentage
.493 Slugging Percentage
.293 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Obviously his best asset was his power, though it would be fair to wonder if he can maintain the 21.4% HR/FB (he owns a 15.8% career mark) he needed to get there. Throw in 28 doubles and 1 triple, as well as a modest 38.8% fly ball rate (39.7% for his career), and we are already calling his strongest skill into question. If that’s not a given, is there any reason for optimism moving forward?
The HR/FB fly ball was consistent (21.3% in the first half, 21.6% in the second) and he did hit the ball hard (39.6% Hard%), so there is at least some reason to believe that he can maintain a 30ish HR pace. That said you can still argue that there’s not enough to get excited about. Obviously a player with little speed, he couples it with a poor approach:
- SwStr% – 13.9%
- O-Swing% – 38.5%
Continually chasing outside the strike zone, there’s a good chance that he struggles to maintain this type of Hard% moving forward (43.8% in the second half looms large). He also could see his strikeout rate rise, after posting a 25.9% mark overall. A reduced Hard% and an increase in strikeouts would obviously lead to a decline in his already pedestrian batting average. If he slows up in home runs as well? That is a lot of ifs, but it’s easy to imagine a scenario where he hits .220 and ultimately loses AB.
It was a nice season for a player who has previously drawn a lot of hype, but it’s hard to envision him making much noise in 2019. Maybe things change, but at this point he’s a player that we likely won’t be owning next season.
Sources – Fangraphs