C.J. Cron has seemingly hit a wall in the major leagues and there's not much to suggest he's going to take his game to another level in his age-28 season. The quality of his contact improved in 2017 (35.8 percent hard-hit rate, 6.7 Brls/PA), but he put bat to ball with far less consistency, with his strikeout rate leaping from 16.9 percent to 25.7 percent. His OBP against right-handed pitching fell nearly 30 points to .309 as he walked just 5.9 percent of the time for the season, and he didn't show any real growth against lefties (.233 average, .290 OBP). Cron missed some time with a foot injury, was demoted several times throughout the campaign and fizzled late while serving in an everyday role. He was also a negative in the field, grading out just barely above replacement level overall. While he figures to get another chance to play regularly to begin 2018, Cron could be relegated to part-time duty with a slow start.
Cron agreed to a one-year $2.3 million deal with the Angels on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. This was his first of three offseasons as an arbitration-eligible player. Cron may struggle to see enough at-bats to be useful in most mixed leagues this season, as Luis Valbuena figures to start at first base against most righties, and Albert Pujols will also start at first when Shohei Ohtani gets starts at DH. Cron hit .248/.305/.437 with 16 home runs in 373 plate appearances last season.
Cron went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in Friday's 7-6 victory over the Rangers. Cron took Ricky Rodriguez deep in the bottom of the sixth inning, which proved to be the deciding runs in a narrow victory. The 27-year-old isn't hitting for as much of an average (.255) in September as he was during his torrid August (.308), but he has continued to produce with three homers and 13 RBI through 13 September starts. Despite playing in just 85 games this year, Cron is just one home run off his career-high mark of 16 that he set both in 2015 and 2016, leaving fantasy owners to wonder "what if" had manager Mike Scioscia not toyed around with his playing time in the first half of the season.
Cron went 3-for-4 with a triple, a home run, a walk, two runs and three RBI in Tuesday's 10-inning, 8-7 win over Oakland. Cron produced two of the game's most important hits, turning a one-run deficit on its head with a two-run homer in the sixth inning before breaking a 6-6 tie with an RBI triple in the eighth. The first baseman launched 16 home runs in each of the past two seasons, but has picked up the pace this year with 14 in just 77 games played. Four of those long balls have come since Aug. 29 and Cron also has 15 RBI in that span.
Cron went 1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in Saturday's comeback victory over the Rangers. Cron got off to a rough start with three strikeouts in his first three plate appearances, but he totally redeemed himself with a game-tying two-run shot in the ninth inning. The 27-year-old added a sacrifice fly in a three-run 10th inning that sealed the deal for the Halos. Saturday's late heroics provided a snapshot of Cron's 2017 campaign, where he got off to a slow start before exploding in the second half. The slugging first baseman is batting .299 with 10 homers and 30 RBI since the All-Star break.
Cron went 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs and four RBI in an 8-2 win over Oakland on Tuesday. Cron is slashing a healthy .310/.381/.609 with seven homers and 18 RBI since taking over primary first-base duties at the beginning of August. Both he and Luis Valbuena have been mashing the ball since Yunel Escobar (oblique) went on the disabled list, so manager Mike Scioscia will have a tough decision to make regarding who will sit when his regular third baseman returns later this week. It is possible that the two sluggers will resume their platoon at first base, a move that would certainly put a dent in the right-handed Cron's playing time. Until that time comes, fantasy owners can continue to enjoy the 27-year-old's power output.