The Colorado Rockies need first baseman C.J. Cron to snap out of his hitting slump soon … for a number of reasons.
Of course, the Rockies need Cron’s bat in the lineup to give the team another weapon, especially as the squad continues a road trip through Miami and on to Cincinnati this weekend. Colorado’s road struggles this season (a Major League-worst 5-23 away from Coors Field and averaging just 2.46 runs per game) have been well documented.
Additionally, with Matt Adams on the injured list, Cron represents the veteran presence at first base that manager Bud Black has come to cherish during his tenure with the Rockies (Ian Desmond and Daniel Murphy come to mind as those who filled the position before Cron’s arrival this offseason).
However, there is also the fact that Cron, if hitting well, could be one of Colorado’s most sought-after pieces at the trade deadline. With a $1 million deal that expires at the end of this season, the 31-year-old Cron could be used at first base or designated hitter by a team looking for a push to the postseason. But with Cron not hitting, his potential trade value could go down along with his batting average.
So how bad has the slump been for Colorado Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron?
In the game of baseball where all players go through ebbs and flows throughout the season, Cron finds himself mired in a major slump … again. From April 4-13, Cron went through a 1-for-20 (.050) stretch at the plate. He then rebounded to go 23-for-64 (.359) over the next 20 games before suffering a lower back strain that landed him on the injured list on May 10.
Cron returned to the active lineup with a vengeance, going 3-for-4 and accounting for half of Colorado’s hits in a 2-1 loss at San Diego on May 18. Since then, however, he has just one multi-hit game and, over the last 15 contests, Cron is 5-for-43 (.116) with just one RBI and 17 strikeouts. Four of those whiffs came on Wednesday night, when Cron struck out in all four of his plate appearances.
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Following the game, I asked Black if Cron’s biggest current issue at the plate is his timing.
"“It wasn’t good tonight as you guys watched,” Black said. “It’s a couple of different things, right? The timing part is probably the biggest thing. He is behind the fastball and ahead of the breaking ball, and it just doesn’t look like he’s seeing the ball great, and hitters will tell you that they’re not seeing the ball, for whatever reason. Right now, C.J. is in that spot where you know he’s fighting that.“We might have to give him a break or two here in the next coming days, but we need him,” Black added."
The Rockies do indeed need Cron, for reasons in the near term (help the team at the plate) and longer term (potentially use in a trade). If Black gives Cron a break to regain his swing, look for Joshua Fuentes and Connor Joe to see additional time at first base.
While Cron may get a break, don’t expect him to see an extended stretch on the bench. The Rockies need to find a way to get Cron kick-started again, and that will likely come from getting back in the batter’s box rather than just the batting cage.