With a new two-year contract in hand, spring training this season for Colorado Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron is certainly different than that of a year ago.
“A lot different,” Cron said this week in comparing his second spring with the Colorado Rockies as compared to his first one a year ago as 2022 Spring Training commenced for the Rockies in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“Last year I was coming in trying to make a team on a minor league contract so I think it’s a little bit more relaxed. I feel like I kind of earned my place a little bit and am able to kind of build up into a little bit more and really just prepare for that first week of the season.”
A free agent last season who won a 2021 spring training battle with Greg Bird to start at first base, Cron set personal career highs in nearly every offensive statistical category during a breakout campaign a year ago for the Rox.
In 2021, Cron had a slash line of .281/.375/.530 with an OPS of .905 in 142 games. The Fullerton, Calif., native, ranked ninth in the National League and topped Colorado in slugging percentage and OPS.
For his stellar play in 2021, the Colorado Rockies inked C.J. Cron in October to a two-year contract for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
This year the adjustment period while joining his teammates for spring training is contrary to that of last spring.
“When you meet a new group, it’s hard to be yourself right off the bat,” he said.
“You have to see how the team is. Every team is different. Every team’s personality is different. you kind of want to plug in with that and then bring your own little spice to it. That’s what I tried to do. It’s nice from Day 1 now to be able to talk some ‘smack’ and be myself. It’s been really good so far.”
A year ago, Cron paced the Rockies in homers (28), RBI (92), and walks (60) while establishing a franchise record with three grand slams. His 28 home runs were just two shy of his career high of 30 set in 2018 when he was with Tampa Bay.
Despite the fluid nature to the start of spring training, Cron thinks his offseason preparation has him ready to hit the ground running as he looks ahead to the regular season.
“I am just sticking with my game plan, I think,” he said.
“Lot of uncertainty. We didn’t really know when we were starting. Kind of just do what I normally do. Not try to rush anything, even though it’s hard to when you know it’s going to be a little bit of a shorter spring. Kind of keep your body in shape and just be ready for the season.”
Cron indicated his offseason training this year mirrored those of past offseasons for the veteran, who will be entering his ninth Major League season in 2022.
“Just working out,” he said. “Hitting. Hitting. Working on my hands, picks, and stuff like that. It was kind of a normal offseason. Just a couple of weeks there in limbo and that was about it.”
But now that the 99-day MLB lockout has ended and the 2022 season is on the horizon, Cron is glad to return to business at hand.
“It feels like we are back to baseball,” he said. “It feels normal and we are glad to be back.”