Draft : : Top Prospects
50 in 50: C.J./Kevin Cron
Monday, May 16, 2011
1B-C / Utah
Previously Drafted: White Sox ’08 (44)
Birthdate: Jan. 5, 1990
C-1B / Mountain Pointe HS
College Commitment: Texas Christian
Birthdate: Feb. 17, 1993
Cron and his younger brother Kevin are two peas in a pod in more ways than one.
Beyond their obvious family connection, both players have remarkably similar
track records and profiles—right down to the significant and disabling leg
injuries they incurred last summer, which cost them valuable exposure in the
scouting community. The Cron brothers are built along the same massive physical
lines (C.J. is 6-4/230, Kevin is even bigger at 6-5/250) and the exceptional raw
power they can generate with their big frames puts them among the elite home-run
hitters in the 2011 draft class. Both have been catchers throughout most of
their evolving careers, though they almost inevitably will end up at first base
in professional baseball.
primarily a catcher in his first two years of college at the University of Utah,
but struggled to refine his receiving and blocking skills, and had difficulty
staying on top of his throws consistently. In the wake of a partial tear in a
knee ligament last summer, Cron’s full-time transition to first base this spring
was a well-timed move as it has enabled him to concentrate mostly on hitting,
and Cron has responded by becoming possibly the most-feared offensive player in
this year’s college draft class. He led Utah in batting (.438), homers (14) and
RBIs (55) through games of mid-May.
was a catcher throughout his recently-completed career at Phoenix’ Mountain
Pointe High (C.J.’s alma mater), and scouts say it is just a matter of time
before he, too, makes a transition to first base. Though he has solid-average
arm strength, he has a slow transfer and does not move especially well behind
the plate. Like his older brother, Kevin is an offensive player, first and
foremost, and systematically demolished Arizona prep home-run records this
spring (plus some of C.J.’s old school records in the process). He finished with
27 homers on the season, easily topping the prior record of 22, set in 1999 by
Desert Ridge High’s Corey Myers (the fourth overall pick in that year’s draft)
and tied a year ago by Cron himself. He also hit 59 long balls over his career,
15 more than the old Arizona standard, and ended the 2011 season with a batting
average near .600. For all of his prowess as a power threat, Cron was the
winningest pitcher this season for Mountain Pointe. He out-dueled Gilbert High’s
Stephen Tarpley, possibly the best high-school pitching prospect in Arizona for
this year’s draft, by a 2-1 score in a playoff game with a fastball that topped
out at 92 mph. He subsequently led his team to the state 5-A/Division I title by
going all eight innings of a hard-fought, 7-6 win in the championship game. He
struck out 14, but also went an uncharacteristic 0-for-4 in the game. Cron
avenged his team’s loss in the final a year earlier, when he clubbed his
then-record-tying 22nd home run, even as he played that game with an
aggravating stress fracture in his left foot. Though he did not have to
subsequently undergo surgery, he was forced to rehab the injury the remainder of
The same fate
befell C.J., who injured his knee in the Cape Cod League, just as he was
scheduled to join Team USA’s college national team.
who are the sons of former major leaguer Chris Cron, currently the manager of
Double-A Erie in the Detroit Tigers system, have exceptional hands for hitting.
Combined with sound hitting mechanics and their big frames, they can seriously
juice balls. The two are distinct in their own ways as hitters, though, as C.J.
is considered the better overall hitter of the two, while Kevin has greater
natural raw power. C.J.’s swing is quick and powerful, and he has serious raw
power to all fields, along with an acute sense of strike-zone discipline. Kevin
also has easy raw power but it is more prolific. When Kevin gets ahold of his
pitch, he is more likely to put more loft on the ball, and has cleared his share
of light towers in his young career. C.J.’s power has more of a line-drive
trajectory, but he is so strong that he can go deep to any part of the park.
Both players are projected to be prominent picks in this year’s draft—C.J. is
the top-rated college talent in Utah, Kevin the top-rated high-school player in
Arizona—but the elder Cron stands the better shot of going in the first round.
Kevin’s draft stock may be suppressed a bit because his signability could be a
little trickier. He’s a solid student (3.96 GPA) with a scholarship offer to
Texas Christian. With his family’s background in the game, plus his brother’s
progression from a 44th-rounder in 2008 to potential first-rounder
this year after three prolific seasons in college, he may be in no hurry to
begin his professional career. Regardless of when Kevin signs, though, either
now or in three years, the Cron brothers could become one of the most prolific
brother acts of the draft era.
Projected Draft Position: C.J. /
Mid-to-late first round;
Kevin / Second to third round.
Perfect Game Events Attended
2009 PG National Championship (Upperclass)
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