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MLB Prospect Review: C.J. Cron, 1B/DH, Los Angeles Angels

The Angels called up first base prospect C.J. Cron on Saturday, and he promptly provided a 3 hit game. What can he do for fantasy owners, and is he up to stay in the majors?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the minor league season, the prospect staff here at Fake Teams will look at a number of prospects for your fantasy and dynasty teams. Some will be prospects that you'll see this year in the majors, while others are interesting targets in longer term formats. Up today is a recent call up, the Angels' first base prospect C.J. Cron.

The Basics

Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 235 lbs.
On 40-Man Roster: Yes 
Options Remaining: 3
DOB: 1/5/1990 (Age 24 Season)

His History

Originally drafted by the White Sox out of high school, Cron attended the University of Utah rather than sign as a 44th round pick with the White Sox. That turned out to be an astute decision, as Cron finished up his college career with a .396/.459/.713 slash line with 46 home runs (about every 14 at bats). The Angels drafted him with the 17th overall pick in the loaded 2011 draft, and signed for a bonus just under $1.5 million.

The team moved him to their short season affiliate in the Pioneer League for his professional debut, where he hit 13 home runs with a .308 batting average across 34 games. Sent to full-season High-A in 2012, Cron hit .293/.327/.516 with 27 home runs in 129 games. For a power hitter, he had a very low strikeout rate (12.9%), but also a very low walk rate to go with it (3.1%).

He went to AA Arkansas last year, and while the power dropped (14 home runs, .428 slugging percentage), his wRC was similar (112 vs. 107) and his contact ratios were still very good. He was promoted to AAA for the start of this season, and hit six home runs in the 28 games before his call up this weekend.

The Scouting Report

Hit (AVG): Cron has shown the ability consistently to make contact at a high level, which, when coupled with his power potential, could lead to interesting batting averages if it all works out. That said, it's hard to see him repeating this production given the reports on both his plate discipline and his pitch recognition. The scouting reports on Cron seem to point to a hitter who will struggle as time progresses and the league adjusts to him.

Power (HR, RBI): The power is king for Cron, receiving elite grades since being drafted. He has the potential to provide 25+ home runs a season if he can hit enough to let the power play. Seasons of 30+ home runs seem possible, given the elite raw power although there could also be seasons of around 20 as well if the hit tool plays out as below-average.

Speed (R, SB): A below-average runner, Cron is not expected to provide any value at all in the stolen base category. He should provide decent value in runs, but that will have more to do with his ability to hit for power than anything else.

Defense: A first baseman coming out of the draft, Cron is likely to have the most defensive value as a designated hitter. He is considered a below-average defender at the position, and would not be likely to unseat most defenders there. This does not help his fantasy value in the slightest.

How Long Could He Stay?

Cron was called up over the weekend, and if he hits reasonably well I believe he stays up as at least a part of the platoon at designated hitter. Long term I think that he will eventually supplant Raul Ibanez and be the full time designated hitter, both in the short-term and long-term.

What Can He Do Now for Your Fantasy Team?

Unfortunately, Cron's value to the Angels may be higher than it will be to most fantasy teams. In the best case scenario, he is a .275 hitter with 25+ home run power, and can be a top 20 first base option in all leagues as a result. The most likely scenario in my opinion is that he doesn't hit for nearly that average, and becomes a fringe option because of his positional eligibility except in the deepest of leagues. A line of .245-250 with 15 home runs across the remainder of the season would not surprise me for Cron.


Unfortunately, the bar for fantasy relevant first basemen is set pretty high, even in deeper formats. I would definitely grab Cron in any leagues with 16+ teams or in AL-only leagues, especially if they are dynasty or keeper formats, but I would wait a little longer in shallower formats than that.


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