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The evolution of C.J. Cron - the hitter

Cron is good example of a prospect growing into his skills throughout the years

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

During spring training this year, I noticed a different approach Cron was using when he walks up to the plate. At least I think it’s different since it’s hard to find much video of him from before a pitch is delivered. When Cron steps up to the plate, his legs are wide and he crouches down like he’s doing a sideways deep knee bend before he comes back up to his ready stance. This got me thinking - what did Cron look like last year? How about in college? Or as a prospect? Enjoy this video journey into the evolution of C.J. Cron - the hitter.

2011 - University of Utah - Junior

Cron had a more narrow stance in the early days and seemed a little bit more rigid. He still had a pretty sweet swing and a lot of pop. There is a reason he was a #1 draft pick. He went to Orem in 2011 and slashed .308/.371/.629 with 13 home runs in just 34 games.

2012 - Inland Empire 66ers - Prospect Video

2012 - Inland Empire 66ers - Base hit

In 2012, Cron was leaning down a bit more but his stance didn’t change all that much. He skipped over A ball and went right to A+ where he knocked out 27 home runs in 129 games. Rookie ball to A+ is a good jump and he seemed to handle it well.

2013 - Arkansas Travelers

By the time he reached AA ball and some more talented pitching, Cron looked more relaxed at the plate and opened up his stance a bit. His changes in approach at the plate from college to AA ball are pretty noticeable.

2014 - Los Angeles Angels - Major league debut

Cron had reasons to smile in his big league debut as he knocked in 3 hits and 2 RBIs during his May debut. Cron was pretty much here to stay at that point with just a few more short stints in Salt Lake. He was relaxed at the plate but still had a bit of over-eagerness.

2017 - Los Angels Angels - Spring training home run

Take a look at Cron’s body language here. He has a adjusted his approach at the plate at bit more and we probably won’t see a lot more changes other than minor ones at this point. He looks really, really comfortable up there. Cron has 20-25 HR potential, though we haven’t seen it yet. Mostly because he’s never had more than 116 games in one season. Cron’s AVG, OBP, and walks to K ratio have all improved over his 3 years in the majors. I guess the biggest question we will probably see answered this year is - has his evolution comes to it’s near peak - or will we see more out of him as a hitter in his age 27 season?