C.J. Cron could be battling Greg Bird, and Josh Fuentes for the 2021 Colorado Rockies first base starting job. Cron is a 31-year-old right-handed hitter that will provide depth and maybe even start at first. Let’s take a look at his past seasons and even compare him to his competition from this spring.
2021 Colorado Rockies: CJ Cron MLB Seasons
In 2020 Cron didn’t have the best season. The short season threw him off a little and his numbers dipped from 2019. In 2020 he played in 13 games with 42 at-bats. He also hit a low /.190 but had a decent OBP at .346. He also had had eight hits with three of them as doubles and four as home runs. Having only eight hits but seven of them as extra-base hits seems like a good sign. The short season wasn’t the best for Cron but he had a decent six years before that.
In 2019 Cron had a better batting average at .253, and his OBP was actually lower at a .311. He played in 125 games for the Minnesota Twins with 458 at-bats, 25 home runs, and 24 doubles. His slugging percentage was a solid .469 with a .780 OPS. The last normal season for Cron was a good one for him. Hitting mid 200s and hitting mid 20’s for both doubles and home runs is impressive. Expect those numbers to increase at Coors Field.
2018 was also solid for Cron. In 2018 Cron played 140 games with the Tampa Bay Rays with 560 plate appearances. He also had a good season with extra-base hits, having 28 doubles, one triple, and 30 home runs. Cron also hit for a .253 average with a .323 OBP and a .493 slugging. The last two seasons show that he is a constant hitter and reliable with the bat.
For his best season, you have to go back to 2016 when Cron played 116 games with the Los Angles Angels. He had 445 plate appearances with a.278 batting average, a .325 OBP, and a .467 SLG. He also had 25 doubles, two triples, and 16 home runs. He also stole two bases while got caught three times. He also had the second-lowest strikeouts in his career at 75. It is nice to see over the last 3-4 seasons that Cron is still hitting consistently and in his best year his average isn’t the best but OBP is still in the 300s and stays like that for the next four years.
Who Will be the 2021 Colorado Rockies First Baseman?
This is tough –– Josh Fuentes has been showing a lot of progress in the last two years. I thought at the beginning of spring training that it was his no matter what. Now you have Greg Bird, CJ Cron, and him competing for the spot. For Colorado Rockies fans, this should be a good sign.
Fuentes this spring is hitting .250 in 14 games and 38 plate appearances. He has a .289 OBP, .361 SLG and a .651 OPS. He also has four doubles with no home runs but a stolen base. A slower start for Fuentes but not a terrible spring for him. I can see him having a better regular season when he calms down and has more opportunity to swing the bat.
For this spring so far, Cron has played in 12 games and is hitting at a .324 batting average with a .618 SLG and a .343 OBP. He also has two home runs with two doubles and a triple. Cron is looking constituent and swinging the bat well. He has a couple of home runs and even a triple. If he does win the first base job it will be nice to start getting some help from that corner of the infield.
Greg Bird has played in 14 games with 35 plate appearances. He has the lowest batting average with .167 and a .257 OBP. He also has a .267 SLG and a .524 OPS. Bird has hit one home run with four RBIs and four walks. It seems like Bird is on the bottom of the three but this is still spring. It could be nice to sign the 27-year-old to a minor league deal and have him to call up if someone gets hurt or is struggling.
I think that for now, Cron is showing the most consistency in spring. I would have him start at first with Fuentes as a backup. I would also sign Greg Bird to a minor league and have him just in case if something happens to one of the two. I think that the Colorado Rockies did a good job getting the veteran to help Fuentes and hopefully, he can mentor him and make him even better for years to come. The Rockies are going to have a hill to climb this year but moves like this could help the team for the future and give a little hope to Rockies fans.
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