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Angels tab college first baseman with ties to club
Angels tab college first baseman with ties to club
By Tom Singer and Jordan Garretson
Like the last time they selected a first baseman in the opening round of the First-Year Player Draft, the Angels on Monday stayed within their extended family.
All hope C.J. Cron has a brighter future in Orange County than did Casey Kotchman.
With the 17th overall pick, the Angels chose the University of Utah first baseman who is the son of Chris Cron, who had the proverbial cup of coffee with the 1991 Angels and currently manages in Detroit's farm system.
CWS, DET, NYY and PHI did not have first-round selections.
"It's an unbelievable feeling right now," the junior Cron told reporters on a conference call Monday night. "It's such a great organization. I'm glad that it's over and I'm an Angel, and excited for what will happen."
The first round and supplemental round were completed on Monday. The Angels do not have another pick until the third round, No. 104 overall.
Ten years ago, the Angels had used their first-round pick on the son of Tom Kotchman, a longtime member of the organization as a Minor League manager and scout. Casey Kotchman made a brief impact with the Angels -- and eventually was the key player in the trade to acquire Mark Teixeira -- and remains a key cog with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Amid the excitement of Draft Day, everyone anticipated C.J. making a more lasting impact. That's Christopher John Cron Jr., by the way.
"Not everyone has a chance to grow up around pro baseball and see how players go about it every day," Cron said. "Everything about it appealed to me, and I've wanted to be a professional ballplayer since I was a little kid, and now it's started."
A 6-foot-4, 235-pound right-handed slugger who can drive the ball but also sprays it to all fields and makes consistent contact, Cron from the beginning was in the bull's-eye of Los Angeles scouting director Rik Wilson.
"We weren't looking for a guy we needed," said Wilson, alluding to specifics of the current system's makeup, "but the guy we wanted. It just so happened to be a power bat.
"C.J. is someone I've known for quite a while now, and we're getting not only a guy with great ability, but a truly good person. We're elated to have him aboard ... rather, to soon have him aboard."
A couple of things have to be addressed before Cron can embark on his career. First, the college junior, with the help of advisor Scott Sanderson, has to come to contract terms. Then, he may need surgery to correct the torn right labrum in his shoulder with which he has played the whole season.
"I played through it, because the doctor said I couldn't do any more damage," Cron said. "It's pretty painful when I throw, so something will have to be done eventually."
Swinging did not appear to be a problem, as Cron belted 15 homers and drove in 59 runs while batting .434, bringing his three-year college totals to 46 and 198, along with a .396 average.
That production is one reason Wilson said Cron's "shoulder issue is not a huge deal."
"Once we get him in the system, the medical people will decide when [surgery] will take place," Wilson said. "We saw his medicals, and he played all year with it. We'll fix it. If he was a left fielder or a third baseman, that might've made a difference. But for him, it's not as big a deal as people might think."
Christopher John Cron Sr. broke in with the Angels seven years after having been the Braves' second-round selection -- No. 38 overall. Atlanta released him after the 1986 Minor League season and the Orange County (Placentia) native was signed by the Halos, for whom he went 2-for-15 in 1991. The next season, Cron was 0-for-15 with the White Sox on his last big league stop.
He is managing the Erie SeaWolves, the Tigers' Double-A Eastern League affiliate.
"I heard Dad was pretty good, but he was behind Wally Joyner," said Cron, referring to the first baseman who was wrapping up his six-season tenure with the Angels in 1991. "I hope one day I can be up there."
The younger Cron's "Wally Joyner" is Mark Trumbo, the 25-year-old first baseman having a pretty solid rookie season. Plus there's Kendrys Morales, who is out for the season after another leg surgery.
"You can never have enough depth," Wilson said. "Things can change with one swing of the bat."
The Angels took pitchers Kaleb Cowart and Cameron Bredosian and outfielder Chevy Clarke in last year's first round.
Live coverage of the Draft resumes at 9 a.m. PT Tuesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player.
You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Tom Singer is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow @Tom_Singer on Twitter. Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.