The Arizona Kid. A Utah Ute. Los Angeles Angels designated hitter C.J. Cron has made his home in Cali playing for the Halos at Angels Stadium.
Born in Fullerton, CA but raised in Phoenix, AZ, Cron made a deep impact in his high school baseball career. Playing for Mount Pointe High School in Arizona, the 24-year old was well on his way to something big even before college baseball.
Cron was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 44th round (1320th overall) of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft but decided to opt out and go to college. He attended the University of Utah, where he played college baseball.
Cron’s career batting average at Utah is .396, which is a school record for the Utes baseball team.
After receiving a handful of honors and awards while playing for the Utes, which included first team All-American in 2010 and 2011, C.J. decided to enter the 2011 MLB draft.
Drafted in the first round and 17th overall by the Angels in the 2011 draft, the potential big bopper seemingly became a solid pick for LAA. As soon as Cron hit the minors, he didn’t waste time putting on a show in the Angels farm system.
What is special about Cron is that he not only hits for power but he can also pick up his batting average with quality and timely hits. Basically, he is everything the Angels dreamed for to back up their superstar outfielder Mike Trout on offense.
In 2012, he played for Inland Empire 66ers (The Angels Single-A Affiliate in the California League. His numbers for the 2012 season were astounding: a .293 batting average, 27 home runs, and 123 runs batted in. With how short seasons the minor leagues can be, it is unheard of to have a high total of homers and RBIs like Cron did for the 66ers.
He continued his huge crack of the bat in the Double-A Texas League, where he played for Arkansas Travelers in the 2013 season. Although his power totals were a bit down (14 homers that season) his RBI tally and batting average stood out. He tallied 83 runs batted in and hit .319 for the Travelers.
Cron’s stay in the farm system wouldn’t last very long. The first baseman hit six home runs and drove 26 runs for the Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A Affiliate) at the beginning of the 2014 season before he was called up on May 3 to the big leagues, where he would come off the bench for the Angels. Since Albert Pujols was already playing at first base for LA, Cron settled into the second string designated hitter role behind Raul Ibanez.
Ibanez, who is known as a veteran home run hitter himself, took Cron under his wing. Upon Ibanez’s release from the Angels on June 21, Cron stepped into the primary DH role and as expected raved the baseball world for what he can do with the bat.
As of June 29, Cron has hit eight home runs and brought in 22 runs while hitting .290. This is all coming in the two months he has played so far in the majors and with limited playing time at the start.
If the exciting hot rookie hitter continues the performance he has put on, the Angels could very well have a Rookie of the Year winner for the second time in three seasons. C.J. Cron is a hitter the Angels need to hold on to because the talent this kid brings to the table is breathtaking and most definitely improbable with the raw skill.
Nonetheless, Cron has a bright future in the majors. A more importantly, he will be fun to watch.