The Padres’ Jake Cronenworth seemingly came out of nowhere to emerge as a relevant fantasy option in 2020. While a lot of that may be due to his positional flexibility (he played at least 10 games at 1B, 2B and SS), is there a chance he pairs that with some offensive value as well?
The numbers last season were solid, though unspectacular:
.285 (49-172), 4 HR, 20 RBI, 26 R, 3 SB
He’s always had a little bit of speed, stealing as many as 22 bases in a minor league season. It’s obviously not an elite skill, but he has the potential to swipe double digits.
In terms of his average, he showed just about everything we look for from a hitter:
- He used the entire field (30.8% Oppo%)
- He made enough hard contact (36.4% Hard%)
- He showed a good approach (5.8% SwStr%, 22.4% O-Swing%)
- He wasn’t over-anxious (39.8% Swing%)
There’s reason to believe in his .324 BABIP, so last year’s average is believable and could even get a little bit better.
That means the question is in terms of his power, and while he may never be a 30+ HR threat there’s reason to believe that he could reach 15 HR or maybe even push 20. As it is he added 15 doubles and 3 triples last season, showing that there could be a bit more power coming. He also showed a good enough Exit Velocity (89.8 mph) and average HR distance (400 feet) to think that he could take another step forward.
Just adding to the speculation? Cronenworth will turn 27-years old prior to the start of the 2021 season.
With even a little bit more power could further add to his average, and suddenly we’re looking at a player who could go .295/20/10 with significantly positional flexibility. That’s fantasy gold, meaning he’s a player you are going to want to target in all formats.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant
Make sure to check out all of our preliminary 2021 rankings: