When C.J. Cron arrived at Rockies spring training in 2021 on a minor-league deal, the veteran first baseman was pretty certain that he’d make the big-league team.
Manager Bud Black told him as much.
“A lot of teams didn’t want me, but the Rockies did,” Cron said recently. “But I had faith in myself and I knew what I could do if given a chance.”
Just look what he’s done with that chance.
On Sunday, at age 32 and in his ninth season in the majors, Cron was named to the National League all-star team. Cron, a first-time all-star who was voted in as a reserve, is the only Rockies player to make the team.
“Buddy got up there and kind of had a little team meeting and said that I was an all-star,” Cron told MLB.com prior to Colorado’s game against the Diamondbacks at Phoenix. “It’s a pretty cool feeling. I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty special.
“I’ve been in the league for nine years and I’m finally getting my first one. So it’s really cool, and I’m super excited and humbled.”
Power propelled Cron to the All-Star Game on July 19 at Dodger Stadium. Entering Sunday, Cron had launched 20 home runs and hit .295. His 486-foot homer vs. San Diego on June 17 at Coors Field was the longest of his career and the second-longest in the majors this season.
Cron ranked among National League leaders in RBIs (66, second), total bases (179, third), slugging percentage (.551, fourth), extra-base hits (41, fourth), OPS (.901, fifth) and home runs (20, tied for fifth).
Cron finally got a chance to play every day with the Rockies. He took off and ran with that chance.
“Knowing that I’m going to be in the lineup and in the middle of the order, kind of took a lot of pressure off and allowed me to just kind of play my game,” Cron said.
The first baseman, and some-time designed hitter, had appeared in all 84 of the Rockies’ games, including 83 starts, prior to being held out of the lineup Saturday with an injury. Cron was hit by a pitch in the left wrist on Friday night. X-rays showed no broken bones but the wrist remains sore and swollen and Cron was out of the starting lineup again on Sunday.
Cron was on quite a streak before he was injured, having reached base in 20 consecutive games since June 17, the longest active streak in the majors. He was slashing .329/.400/.632 with five doubles, six home runs and 22 RBIs over that span.
The Rockies are Cron’s fifth big-league team in nine seasons. It’s been quite a journey to his first Midsummer Classic:
— He was drafted by the Angels in the first round (17th overall) in 2011 and played four seasons for the Angels (2014-17).
— He was traded to Tampa Bay in February 2018 and went on to hit 30 homers for the Rays.
— In November 2018, was selected off waivers by Minnesota and hit 25 homers for the Twins in 2019.
— Became a free agent in December 2019 and signed with Detroit but he appeared in only 13 games with the Tigers during the 2020 pandemic-shortened season after undergoing left knee surgery.
— Signed with the Rockies on Feb. 16, 2021, made the team, and ended up hitting .281 with 28 homers, 92 RBIs and a .905 OPS.
- Ninth Rockies player (19th time) to hit at least 20 home runs in the team’s first 81 games; the first since Nolan Arenado in 2016.
- First Rockies player since Todd Helton in 2001 (seventh overall) to hit at least 20 home runs, record 65 or more RBIs, and hit .295 or better through the first half of the season.
- In 113 games at Coors Field since 2021, he’s slashed 338/.407/.672 with 34 home runs, 30 doubles, and 118 RBIs. He leads the National League in batting average, home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage at home over that span.
— Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post