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C.J. Cron, from minor league deal to All-Star

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, July 11, 2022

Yesterday, C.J. Cron was officially named to his first MLB All-Star team.

The nine-year veteran broke out in 2021 after signing a minor league deal with the Rockies. He ended the year with a 127 wRC+ and 2.3 fWAR and was rewarded with a two-year extension worth $14.5 million.

In 2022, he has continued his success, cementing himself as the most obvious choice for the Rockies representative at the All-Star Game. He’s currently slashing .295/.350/.551, good for a 135 wRC+ and 2.2 fWAR. Of those numbers, the batting average, slugging percentage, wRC+, and fWAR (assuming he continues at this pace) would all be career highs.

He currently sits in the top five league wide for slugging percentage, OPS, hits, RBI, homers, and total bases. He is the only player in the National League to be top five in all those categories. And he’s still been showing room for improvement.

Last year, Cron’s breakout was greatly helped by a more patient approach at the plate. He walked in 11.0% of his plate appearances and struck out in 21.4%, both significantly better than his career averages. This year, he’s regressed to the mean - walking in just 6.4% and striking out in 25.4%, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting up his big numbers. Some of those numbers could be explained by the lack of surrounding support in the Rockies lineup - the recent return of Kris Bryant will surely help this. Giving Cron more opportunities with runners on base will either help him get more hittable pitches, or the opposite as opposing pitchers pitch around him. Both outcomes will help his numbers even more.

These accomplishments are all impressive in a vacuum, but are magnified by how far Cron has come. He missed the majority of the 2020 season due to knee surgery after spending the previous four years on four different teams with underwhelming results. Fortunately for the Rockies and Cron, Coors Field has proven to be a welcome home to reenergize his career. While the Rockies faithful weren’t able to watch him in the All-Star Game last year, his nomination this time around comes better late than never.

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How Todd Helton is helping Michael Toglia fulfill his potential as Rockies’ top first base prospect | The Denver Post ($)

C.J. Cron is the Rockies first baseman of today, but if all goes right, Michael Toglia will be the Rockies first baseman of the future. The 23-year old UCLA product was selected in the first round of the 2019 draft and is currently playing at the AA level in Hartford. Recently, he’s been benefitting from the experience and expertise of Rockies legend Todd Helton. Helton has helped Toglia with anything from his defensive work at first base (Helton sees “Gold Glove potential”) to the mental side of the game. Toglia still has a ways to go before he sniffs the bigs, but a mentor like Helton will surely help.

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On The Farm

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 10, Round Rock Express 2

The Isotopes came out hot on Sunday, scoring all 10 runs in the first three innings to take down the Express (TEX) before they even had a chance to get a rhythm. Alan Trejo had three hits and three RBI and Jonathan Morales had two hits, a walk, and four RBI to power the offense. Wynton Bernard added two hits, two RBI, a run, and a stolen base. On the mound, Karl Kauffmann (no. 20 PuRP) earned the win, striking out four and allowing two runs (both unearned) over five innings of work. Tomorrow, the Isotopes will play the Sacramento River Cats (SFG).

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats 10, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 7

Hartford rode the big inning to a win Sunday, putting up four spots in two separate frames and giving them enough offense to overpower the Fisher Cats (TOR). Grant Lavigne (no. 22 PuRP) had three hits and two runs scored, Michael Toglia (no. 7 PuRP) had three walks, and Hunter Stovall had three hits, two walks, an RBI, and two runs scored to lead the offense. The Yard Goats will take on the Harrisburg Senators (WAS) tomorrow to start their next series.

High-A: Tri-City Dust Devils 7, Spokane Indians 3

Spokane dropped the finale at home Sunday. Tri-City (LAA) put five runs on starter Mason Greene, saddling him with the loss. The team produced offensively - totalling 13 hits on the day, highlighted by the two through five batters all having multi-hit days - but they were unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position, going just 2-10. No. 1 PuRP Zac Veen was 2-4 with a walk and a run scored. The Indians will head on the road next, taking on the Eugene Emeralds (SFG).

Single-A: Fresno Grizzlies 3, San Jose Giants 2

Yorvis Torrealba did it all for the Grizzlies on Sunday, going 3-4 with an RBI and the walk-off run on a pickle, helping to defeat the Giants (SFG).

Torrealba provided his RBI single earlier in the ninth to tie the game, advanced to third on an E.J. Andrews Jr. single, then scored the winning run. Benny Montgomery (no. 2 PuRP) and Bryant Quijada also added two base hits of their own, with Montgomery bringing in Juan Brito to score in the eighth. On the mound, Cullen Kafka started the game and pitched five strong innings, allowing just one run, but was in line for the loss due to San Jose’s strong defense. Tyler Ahern, the Rockies last draft pick in 2021, was able to earn the win in relief, coming on in the eighth and providing four scoreless outs. The Grizzlies have today off and will return to action against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (LAD) on Tuesday.

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