Going Deep: What More Do You Want From C.J. Cron?

Ben Palmer explains why he believes in C.J. Cron's success and thinks he needs to be owned in every league.

As I write this, C.J. Cron’s ownership is currently sitting at 52%, meaning he’s available in 48% of leagues. This is all despite what has been an excellent season so far, as he’s slashing .271/.335/.548, including a .299/.375/.649 slash line over the past month.

Now, it’s understandable if you think this is just some hot streak and that it will all cool down soon enough, but I want to bring to your attention just how ridiculously good Cron has been over the past couple of years.

Matthew Pouliot brought this up on Twitter, and it’s an excellent point. Since the Los Angeles Angels let Cron go (so from the start of 2018 through now, which is 186 games), Cron has slashed .258/.326/.507 with 43 home runs, 94 runs, and 104 RBI.

In that same amount of time (which amounts to 187 games for him), Mike Trout has slashed .306/.460/.616 with 50 home runs, 136 runs, and 107 RBI. Now, obviously those numbers are incredible and significantly better than Cron’s, but I think it’s worth mentioning that, over the same time span, Cron has seven fewer home runs and three fewer RBI than the best player in all of baseball.

Cron has been excellent. But should you buy into it? I think you should.


Cron Looks Like He’s Getting Better


Assuming Cron plays roughly the same number of games he did last year, he’s on pace for about 39 home runs, 79 runs, and 91 RBI, all while hitting around .270, which would all be a career-best by a longshot and not far off from what Jesus Aguilar did last year or what Edwin Encarnacion used to do on a regular basis with the Toronto Blue Jays.

But can we expect that to keep up? I think we can, or something close to it, because everything seems to point to this being pretty legit.

First off, there’s Cron’s plate discipline.



Cron’s strikeout rate is at a career-low 21.1% right now, down from 25.9% last year. Similarly, his walk rate is at a career-best 7.0%, up from 6.6% last year, and his chase rate is at a career-best 32.4%, down from 38.5% last year. Not only that, but his SwStr rate is also at a career-best 11.6% this year, down from 13.9% last year.

So Cron’s more patient at the plate—that’s good—and it makes his .271 average so far pretty realistic (as does his .276 BABIP).

You know what else makes his current stats seem more realistic? Comparing them to his expected stats.


Actual .271 .373 .548
Expected .287 .389 .555


If those expected stats are to be believed, Cron could be getting even better as the season goes on. If he’s able to hit in the .280s while still hitting almost 40 home runs, that’s a massive fantasy producer.

Part of why he’s looked so good is how hard he’s hitting the ball. Currently his barrel rate sits at a career-best 16.3%, good for 23rd best in the league, and his Statcast hard-hit rate is sitting at another career-best, 44.2%.

It’s worth noting that Cron has made a slight tweak to his approach this year, tightening up his batting stance compared to last year (2018 on left, 2019 on right).



Clearly this change has helped him, given all the career-best quality of contact numbers he’s putting up right now.




So basically here’s what I’m saying: C.J. Cron hasn’t just been really good this year, he’s been really good over the past couple of years. And not only that, it seems like he’s getting better thanks to some adjustments he’s made at the plate.

The expected stats suggest Cron will get better as the year goes on. I’m not saying he’s going to reach his .287 xBA (that’d be pretty sick though), but I think it’s safe to bet on Cron to keep up a .270s average while still hitting for excellent power. If we end the year and Cron has around a .275 average with 35-40 home runs, I would not be shocked in the least.

And that potential is available in almost half of fantasy baseball leagues. What more do you want from him? GO GET HIM.

(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

Ben Palmer

Senior columnist at Pitcher List. Lifelong Orioles fan, also a Ravens/Wizards/Terps fan. I also listen to way too much music, watch way too many movies, and collect way too many records.

2 responses to “Going Deep: What More Do You Want From C.J. Cron?”

  1. theKraken says:

    I don’t think that is a clear change on the two stances. At is always a problem when comparing two swings or images in that the sample size is one – that’s also a pretty big problem with scouting in general. If you see a guy on a good day v a bad day you see two different players more or less. Secondly, I’ll take the 2018 stance – in the 2019 one he is too upright and the bat is too vertical – neither of those things help – but neither are probably representative of much either. Batting practice is the only way to learn anything about what a guy is doing IMO. I don’t think it is clear that that has helped him all the multi-hit and multi-hr games over the past few weeks have though. I just picked up Cron as a throw-in and I want to drop him. In a 12 teamer, I am thinking 30 HR is probably sitting on the waiver and I would be better served with a streamer. Perhaps those K and BB gains sticks and he takes a large step forward… its a tough call! Interestingly he is King more as of late despite the increased production.

    • Ben Palmer says:

      For what it’s worth, I looked at multiple examples of his batting stances from last year and this year, and the change was pretty consistent. It’s a small adjustment for sure, but I think it’s worth noting.

      However, the main point of this piece isn’t “C.J. Cron totally remade his batting stance and is amazing now,” it’s more that Cron has made some tweaks to his approach, has gradually started hitting the ball harder, has improved his plate discipline, and has therefore been getting better.

      As I mentioned at the start of the piece, he was great last year too, and it looks like he’s making even more progress this year. He’s been gradually getting better, and because the improvements have been so gradual, I think they’ve gone more unnoticed than they would have had they all happened at once.

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