Top 12 Jays Draft Targets, JJ Edition: #6 C.J. Cron


This message will continue to be posted on each of the top 12 draft targets I will be listing daily until draft day: the players listed are not “the best” players in the draft, they are simply those that I believe could be around when the Jays draft, and that could wind up being selected by the Blue Birds when their turns come up. The list has 12 of the top targets and will be presented in reverse order (from least likely, to most likely). A bat is next in line in…

#6: C.J. Cron (21)

First Baseman-Catcher-DH / 6’4″  240 lbs / Phoenix

Birth Date: 1st of May 1990

High School Team: Mountain Pointe High School

College: Utah

Quick Facts:

  • 2007 Louisville Slugger Honorable Mention All-American.
  • 2009 Baseball America Second Team All-Freshman, NCBWA Second Team All-Freshman.
  • Was the only player in the Nation to get 3 hits off Stephen Strasburg when he was a Freshman.
  • Drafted by the White Sox in the 44th rd of the 2009 draft. Didn’t sign, obviously.
  • 2010 NCBWA All-American, Collegiate Baseball All-American, NCBWA District VII Player of the Year, Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.
  • 2011 Golden Spikes Award Watch List, NCBWA Preseason All-American (DH), Collegiate Baseball Second Team All-American, Baseball America Third Team All-American.
  • Was a catcher right up until 2011, when he played mostly 1B.
  • Has baseball blood lines as his father Chris played in the bigs and manages within the Tigers organization.

Stats:

  • 2009: 246 AB / 83 hits / 19 DB / 1 TR / 11 HR / 14 BB / 31 SO / .337 AVG / .380 OBP / .557 SLG / .989 Flg%
  • 2010: 197 AB / 85 hits / 16 DB / 20 HR / 17 BB / 23 SO / .431 AVG / .493 OBP / .817 SLG / .990 Flg%
  • 2011: 198 AB / 86 hits / 26 DB / 1 TR / 15 HR / 31 BB / 21 SO / .434 AVG / .517 OBP / .803 SLG / .992 Fdg%

Pre-Draft Rankings (out of all pitchers in brackets):

  • BA Ranking May 27th: #20 (9)
  • John Sickels May 30th: #18 (6)

There are many people who will disagree with me, but if the Jays do decide to take a bat in the first round – and I doubt they will – I believe it will be C.J. Cron, if he’s available of course. The reason I believe this to be so is because he is the second best polished pure bat in the draft after Anthony Rendon and could make a serious impact on an MLB club as early as late-2012. While I completely agree that Josh Bell would be the top Jays choice if he was actually willing to sign, I do believe the Jays will now walk away from that risk as they heard what everyone else did right from Bell himself – he will not sign with a team if drafted, regardless of the bonus.

Cron’s power is unquestioned. He had an extra base hit rate of 12.6% in 2009, 18.3% in 2010, and 21.2% in 2011. That kind of steady growth, along with walk numbers that jumped from 14 in 2009 to 31 in 2011, make him a potent bat to say the least. How many power bats do you know of that get on base about 50% of the time and maintain a .300+ average? That’s what Cron’s potential is, and with his confidence and makeup, there is little doubt in my mind that he’ll reach his full potential at some point in the future. What is his potential if all goes into place for him? In my opinion, he’s a Billy Butler with more power kind of bat. That’s something the Jays have never had in the DH spot, and it’s something that makes him a very attractive pick to any AL club.

Right now, a lot of Mock Drafts have him going to St-Louis or Colorado. From what I’ve heard and read, his D isn’t exactly the strongest at 1B. It’s definitely passable, but his range is limited. I believe that this is one of the reasons John Sickels has him going to Oakland at #18, a very possible scenario. They definitely need the power and bat in their lineup long term, and he will most likely make it to them so long as the Angels who pick 17 don’t nab him first. The 8 teams picking before the Angels are all NL clubs who will likely want players who have upside defensively, or pitching of course.

Expected Selection (if selected by the Jays): In the First Round, 21st overall.

I’ve said all along that I expect the Jays to grab a top pitcher at #21. However, if the targets they have in mind for that #21 spot pitching wise are selected before the pick comes to them, I could definitely see the Jays grabbing onto C.J. Cron. With no 65+ power prospects in their system (on the 20/80 scouting scale), the Jays could definitely use his pop and approach at the plate to ensure the efforts of their pitchers are supported by the very best run production in the AL East.

- MG

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