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Angels' Cron shows range


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Judging by the numbers he's put up during his career, C.J. Cron knows what to do with a baseball when he sees one. Based on his family pedigree, the Arkansas Travelers first baseman and Los Angeles Angels prospect may have had an unfair headstart in that area.

Cron, who was christened Christopher John Cron Jr., is hitting .313 with two homers and 18 RBIs in his Double-A debut with the Travs. His dad, Chris Sr., a second-round pick of the Braves in 1985 who reached the Majors with the Angels in 1991 and White Sox in 1992, has been a Minor League manager since 1995 and currently helms the first-place Erie SeaWolves, the Tigers' Double-A Eastern League affiliate.

More: http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130514&content_id=47397790&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb&sid=milb

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Love that kid's upside.  The lack of HR in AA aren't a concern at all, as it's not a HR friendly league (especially Dickey Stephens Park).  But he's hitting for high average and collecting his fair share of XBH.  He's finally 100% healthy and I think he'll open some eyes in the next couple years.  Folks also cite his lack of walks as a legitimate concern, but I don't.  

 

When's the last time anyone saw a power hitter with his amount of raw physical power AND his ability to make contact.  It doesn't take a genius to figure out that high BA, good contact skills and tremendous power is a recipe for success.  I have my doubts as to whether such success will be discovered as an Angel, but I do think if Cron is traded, he'll net the Angels something pretty valuable.  

 

I could see him being a centerpiece for a Jeremy Hellickson type of trade. 

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It's still early, but I'm not aware of any average prospects that have Cron's type of power and hit over .300 in their first stint in AA.  The kid has .270+ 25+ HR written all over him.  At the very least, he'll be a lower tier starting 1B at the Major League level.  At the most, Mark Trumbo w/higher batting average.  

 

Even if Cron doesn't walk, he's an above average prospect. 

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CJ is a really odd prospect. 

 

An alarmingly low walk rate yet tremendous power and low strikeout rates.  Excellent contact rates and lots of XBH.  Decent speed for a big guy but not actual speed. 

 

Guys that have consistent success in the majors with such low walk rates are few and far between and typically have an elite hit tool.  Vlad and Robbie Cano he likely isn't.  His lack of speed also hurts him there as he would need to rely on a high BABIP to do really well. 

 

Major league fields and defenses are better. 

 

The one thing that bodes well is that he seems to be capable of being somewhat selective as evident by his college and orem numbers.  Maybe his walk rate improves as they throw him junk yet if he sees something he can hit hard he has a hack at it.  His pitch recognition seems very good as his avg hasn't really dipped and he is likely seeing more major league quality breaking balls now that he is in AA. 

 

The upside is definitely there, but it would be unusual for his numbers to translate into a true middle of the order bat.  Seems like a bit of an all or nothing prospect but we'll see. 

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He potentially reminds me of Vlad Guerrero's skill set  Players like Guerrero and Aybar are hackers swinging at pitches they sometimes shouldn't be swinging at. I agree with most of everyones comments but we will see how Cron does against more off-speed and breaking balls and whether or not he can take a little more walks. Love the power and ability to make contact. Strange duck we have here.

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Don't trade him for a rental.   Already been there, done that.    ONLY if the person being traded for has a contract for at least 2 years and isn't an obscene contract, then Cron may be traded in a package for that person.

 

NO MORE RENTAL TRADES!!!!    You don't get a draft pick anymore for losing that player.

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Hellickson is fine, and meets all of my above criteria.    I was referring to the trades we've made the past few years.

 

It was fine when Teixeira was acquired, because you could get a draft pick for losing a FA acquired in mid-season back then.

And we only traded a player in Kotchman who was replaceable (by Morales) if Teixeira left.

 

Talent like Segura does not come along every day.   Bad idea to trade him for a rental.

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Hellickson is fine, and meets all of my above criteria.    I was referring to the trades we've made the past few years.

 

It was fine when Teixeira was acquired, because you could get a draft pick for losing a FA acquired in mid-season back then.

And we only traded a player in Kotchman who was replaceable (by Morales) if Teixeira left.

 

Talent like Segura does not come along every day.   Bad idea to trade him for a rental.

 

Well this has been discussed to death AO, but, in the end, it is about winning championships and at the time Greinke was someone who could give us that opportunity potentially. You have to give to get. I liked Segura but the reality was that the FO preferred Aybar over Jean and I didn't mind the attempt to win.

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I understood keeping Aybar, because his glove/arm and speed and sometimes hitting are real solid assets.

 

But I just saw Segura as being a better alternative over Kendrick long term.

Sure, Kendrick's numbers are fine so far in 2013.   How often has he truly been solid offensively since first becoming a regular? 

And he's 30 already.   And even with some spectacular plays defensively, he has 5 errors already.

And I know Milwaukee would likely not take Kendrick in that trade.

That's why, seeing how salaries were going crazy, and how Greinke's 2010-2012 ERA was decent not great, I myself would not have done that trade. 

 

Ask the Red Sox (Bagwell for Larry Andersen) and the Tigers (Smoltz for Doyle Alexander) how rental trades can work out.

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AO, hindsight is 20/20. If Greinke gets us over the hump last year and we make it into the playoffs then you have to like our chances with Weaver and Greinke in a series when you have Trout and Pujols. Oh and I think it is too early to compare Segura to Bagwell and Smoltz. For every one of those trades that happens there are trades that don't happen that would have worked out fine. Remember the Angels reluctance to include Wood in a deal for Halladay? I am guessing you would have been against that trade as well, and I think we all know, using hindsight, that it would have been a steal.

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The problem was not totally in keeping Wood.

 

It would seem to be in two parts:  a) scouting not effective enough to find enough solid prospects, and B) too many of the real prospects got traded (Corbin, Segura, in time Skaggs, etc.) and too many of the wrong prospects were kept (Wood, D-Mac, etc.). 

 

I sure hope that changes in the next 3 years, because otherwise we will be going down this same path then.

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The problem was not totally in keeping Wood.

 

It would seem to be in two parts:  a) scouting not effective enough to find enough solid prospects, and B) too many of the real prospects got traded (Corbin, Segura, in time Skaggs, etc.) and too many of the wrong prospects were kept (Wood, D-Mac, etc.). 

 

I sure hope that changes in the next 3 years, because otherwise we will be going down this same path then.

 

This I would agree with for the most part. Segura probably wouldn't have hurt us so much if our cupboard wasn't so bare already.

 

I really believe in Dipoto's plan (I'm talking his strategic long term plan in building the farm) but only time and patience will reveal how well we really do in player development and drafting.

 

Dipoto is correct in trying to build a "moving window of contention" where we constantly have a nucleus of good players who can compete that are supplemented by a good farm system. We are on the first steps heading towards that goal and I think this year's draft will help supplement the 2015-2017 nucleus.

 

The only fly in the ointment is how well the nucleus performs year-to-year. Unfortunately we have hit a severe road bump.

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Vlad in his prime had a .400 obp. He may have swung outside the zone but his contact skills with power were amazing, There is no logical comparison between Vlad and Aybar,

 

He potentially reminds me of Vlad Guerrero's skill set  Players like Guerrero and Aybar are hackers swinging at pitches they sometimes shouldn't be swinging at. I agree with most of everyones comments but we will see how Cron does against more off-speed and breaking balls and whether or not he can take a little more walks. Love the power and ability to make contact. Strange duck we have here.

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Trading Segura for a Greinke rental which ultimately led to nowhere may go down as the worst trade in this organization's history. Not sure how you guys can sugarcoat it. Segura looks like he could be a perennial All-Star at a premium position. And he's young. We could be looking at the next Jose Reyes.

 

Hamilton and Pujols aren't aging well. Trout and Segura would have been an awesome duo at the top of the lineup for the next decade or so.

 

I also think Corbin is legit, so that one will hurt as well.

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Trading Segura for a Greinke rental which ultimately led to nowhere may go down as the worst trade in this organization's history. Not sure how you guys can sugarcoat it. Segura looks like he could be a perennial All-Star at a premium position. And he's young. We could be looking at the next Jose Reyes.

 

Hamilton and Pujols aren't aging well. Trout and Segura would have been an awesome duo at the top of the lineup for the next decade or so.

 

I also think Corbin is legit, so that one will hurt as well.

 

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Vlad in his prime had a .400 obp. He may have swung outside the zone but his contact skills with power were amazing, There is no logical comparison between Vlad and Aybar,

 

Both Vlad and Aybar love to swing at pitches, that is a fact and that is a real comparison. Vlad was a level above without a doubt but both of them like to put the bat on the ball and that is what I said and meant. Part of the reason Vlad had a higher OBP was the walks that were issued to avoid pitching to him (and he had a better eye than Aybar). Vlad was also a mentor to Aybar during their time in Anaheim and Erick certainly tried to emulate his older "brother".

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Segura has the potential, though it is entirely too soon to tell.  Just the fact that the full package of tools has developed enough to have a big 2 months in the bigs tells a bunch.  It seems like the question with Segura was how many tools would become above average, and as everyday passes, it looks like all 5 have done just that.

 

I do think Pena will be a very good pitcher (likely in the bullpen long-term) with Hellweg having a slight chance at being good in the bigs.

 

Back to Cron, though, I would be a lot more excited if he knew what the strike zone looked like.  His walk rate is WORSE than last years and I'm not entirely sure how that's possible.  Also, with him looking more and more like a DH, the defensive value is simply not there.  His bat is definitely ++ but I'm not sure if it's enough to make up for those 2 factors.

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Cron can definitely play first base.  I won't pretend he'll be anything above average, but comparing Cron at AA to Trumbo at AA, Cron's a considerably better defensive 1B than Trumbo was at the time.  Mark made huge strides once he reached the majors though.  As with all successful players, it really comes down to their ability to adjust, and Mark has done that so far. 

 

Back to Cron, he's making tons of contact and when you have a power hitter that's making contact at that rate, it's something worth getting excited over.  I mean I can't completely ignore the BB rate, but at the same time, when you watch him, it isn't like his AB's are short and he's constantly chasing pitches out of the zone.  Pitchers are just living on the outer half and throwing a lot of offspeed pitches to him.  

 

He's doing what he knows best, which is simply using his raw power to put the balls into gaps and over walls.  So far this season, he's doing a hell of a job.  It's actually a good sign that pitchers aren't challenging him with fastballs on the inner half.  It narrows what he needs to work on.  Love the guy as a hitter, but I still see Trumbo being extended and Cron being dealt.  I think the Angels will wait until he puts up a monster season at AAA first to inflate his value.  I still see him being a .280 30+ HR hitter in the majors. 

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