The Cron Wars

Breaking down the best hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

C.J. Cron (COL): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.

Every week in March, I kept seeing C.J. Cron crawl up the draft boards as the hype of Cron in Coors. Anecdotally, I saw him getting drafted in the top 150 banking on the playing time, and success with a big bat like that in Coors. Cron had an excellent 2018 with the Rays with his first 30 plus (and 20 plus) home run season. He followed up that in 2019 with a similar year with Minnesota but with 60 fewer plate appearances. 2019 was a much stronger year Statcast-wise, as he had a hard hit rate over eight percentage points better than 2018. He also cut down his K rate to 21.4%, and from a power bat like Cron, that is eyebrow raising. He didn’t get enough time in 2020 to show off that continuous improvement, so 2021 was the year for more of a breakout, especially in a hitter-friendly park.

The 2021 season started fine for Cron, but he’s stayed average throughout July despite cutting his K rate back down in June to his 2019 levels. But since the All-Star break, everything has come together. Cron has had a monster last month with nine dingers and a 158 wRC+ all since the break. More notably, seven of those home runs have been in the last 11 games. The Cron in Coors people were drafting back in March seems to be coming to fruition. His walk rate is a solid 14%, and his K rate is below 20% at 18.7% over that time frame. He has an excellent slash of .297/.402/.637. If Cron is still available in your league, he’s finally putting it all together and should be scooped up for the playoff run.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:

Daniel Johnson (CLE): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Johnson has been up and down from Triple-A this season, seeing two games in May, and then played most of July before being sent down for two more weeks. He came back strong yesterday with a pair of hits, including a 425 foot home run. He smoked a couple of balls which is a good sign for his return. He is a speed-first player and strikes out a ton, so he should not be considered to add at this moment.

Jake Lamb (CWS): 1-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

It’s been a while since Lamb’s 30 home run seasons (okay, one was only 29) with the Diamondbacks, but he is back with the White Sox after spending July on the IL with a quad injury. He has been coming off the bench and starts every so often, making him valueless in fantasy. However, his start yesterday was great with two runs, three RBIs, and a 415-foot homer.

Evan Longoria (SF): 3-3, HR, R, RBI.

Longoria had been out since the beginning of June with a shoulder injury. He had been having a resurgence just like all other Giants players. He has been back for four games now and strung together three hits last night, including a home run just over the fence in left field. If he keeps up what he had been doing before his IL stint, he’s worth a roster spot.

Ian Happ (CHC): 3-4, HR, R, RBI.

Happ has been decent since he came up young at 22, but this season he has been struggling hard. His BABIP is down significantly, with a strikeout rate back above 30%, leading to a batting average below the Mendoza line. If this continues, this will be his first season with a sub-100 wRC+. He is hitting more ground balls and can’t seem to get a line drive. However, he looks to be rebounding with his batted balls after a month and a half struggle, even though he’s still striking out a ton.

Yadiel Hernández (WSH): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Hernández has been coming off the bench pretty much all season for the Nationals. But since the trade deadline, he has been getting plenty of starts in left. Since July 29th, He is slashing .382/.444/.618 with three home runs. This 33-year-old is taking full advantage of his time in the starting lineup. He’s putting the ball in play but hitting over 50% ground balls. He’s finding the holes and getting on base with a decent amount of walks as well. It’s a nice hot streak, but I can’t see it last much longer.

Nelson Cruz (TB): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

A double home run night for Cruz. He is cruzin’. One of them was 112 MPH off the bat traveling 437 feet. In short, it was annihilated. Since the trade to Tampa, Cruz has been an interesting batter. He’s striking out around 30% of the time, much more than usual, he’s hit seven home runs which is standard, but he’s hitting below .200 with a 103 wRC+. That K rate and a .188 BABIP will do that. I am confident those will bounce back, and he’ll be his normal Cruz self soon.

Riley Adams (WSH): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.

Adams came over to Washington at the deadline. Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs labeled Adams as a ‘prospect with power and strikeout issues.’ Since the trade, he’s been playing regularly behind the dish. He has two dingers and is striking out over 30% of the time. However, with last night’s three hits, he’s helped raise his average above .300 with the Nationals and has a hard hit rate of 40%.

Josh VanMeter (ARI): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.

VanMeter is not an everyday player. He’ll play two to three games in a row and take a day off with a usual pinch hit appearance. He returned June 20th after a month off, and since then, he’s slashing a solid .264/.336/.482 with minimal counting stats. If he gets more starts, he may be rosterable, but he hasn’t put up enough to make it count.

Randy Arozarena (TB): 4-5, 2B, 2 R.

Arozarena looks to be stringing together multi-hit game after multi-hit game since the All-Star break. In that time, he has 13 multi-hit games and is slashing .382/.433/.708 with a 214 wRC+. His BABIP is a sky-high .509 with a 52.5% ground ball rate as well. However, he does have an improved 47.5% hard hit rate. We’re seeing another excellent streak out of Arozarena, and he’ll certainly be running with this for the rest of the year.

Teoscar Hernández (TOR): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Hernández is absolutely on fire. He has a nine-game hitting streak, with seven of those games being multi-hit games and with three games in a row with a home run. He also included a laser 112 MPH line out yesterday. This guy is seeing the ball and crushing the ball.

Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

Jim Chatterton

Jim has written for Razzball and now is a part of the Pitcher List staff. He is a Villanova alum and an eternally optimistic Mets fan. He once struck out Rick Porcello in Little League.

2 responses to “The Cron Wars”

  1. Sweet Chin Music says:

    After losing Seager, Bregman and Betts to injury for large chunks of the season, my offense was killing my team. Pulled off a trade, shipping Berrios for Teoscar Hernandez. I had a ton of pitching depth so I didn’t mind. Man it has paid off well. Hernandez is a one man wrecking crew.

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