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Kragthorpe: Ex-Ute star C.J. Cron thriving in Angels system

Published May 3, 2013 2:20 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

C.J. Cron just keeps producing in his climb through the Los Angeles Angels' minor-league system.

Unfortunately, the former University of Utah star's teammates are making him look even better.

In his third pro season, Cron is responding well to the move to Double-A Arkansas — one level below the Salt Lake Bees. While having hit only one home run in 25 games, he's batting .316 with 15 RBIs. So in 188 professional games, the first baseman has driven in 179 runs at Orem of the Pioneer League, Inland Empire of the California League and Arkansas of the Texas League.

Cron, drafted No. 17 overall after his junior season at Utah, is among four Angels first-round picks in the Arkansas lineup. The others are struggling at the plate, with second baseman Taylor Lindsey (.210) just recently having moved above the .200 mark. Third baseman Kaleb Cowart (.196) and right fielder Randal Grichuk (.176) are stuck below that figure. So is another prospect, center fielder Travis Witherspoon (.174).

The result is that the Angels — and the Bees, on the way to Anaheim — cannot expect much help in the immediate future. Cron's outlook remains promising, although there's no urgency to move him through the system because of Albert Pujols' presence at first base for the Angels.

Eventually, Cron should be able to play first base in the major leagues with Pujols becoming a designated hitter. Cron underwent shoulder surgery at the end of last summer, after his 2011 season ended early because of a knee injury. He appears to be healthy now, playing regularly at first base.

His current .316 batting average tops his .308 mark at Orem and .293 average at Inland Empire, while his performance endorses his consistent, steady nature. A son of a longtime minor-league manager, Cron was well prepared to handle the daily grind of pro baseball.

The Travelers (13-13) are in a three-way tie for first place in the Texas League North.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribkurt