C.J. Cron blasts two three-run homers to lift Rockies over D-Backs

Rockies’ C.J. Cron rides sweet swing to first All-Star Game

You can be big and powerful, but that don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing.

Well, C.J. Cron’s got that swing, and the Rockies’ 6-foot-5, 235-pound first baseman rode it all the way to Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.

His teammates have been impressed.

“Just watching him take batting practice is cool,” second baseman Brendan Rodgers said. “He’s a big guy and everybody expects him to have pop, but his swing is very effortless and fun to watch.

“What I preach to myself is to be calm, cool and relaxed in the box and let your hands do the work. That’s what I’ve noticed about C.J.”

Cron, at age 32, in his ninth season in the majors, is an all-star for the first time. He’s hitting .298 with 21 homers (fifth in the National League), 69 RBIs (fifth), and a .902 OPS (fourth). He’s been a monster at Coors Field, slashing .352/.393/.674 with 16 homers, 12 doubles, two triples, and 53 RBIs.

Cron has megawatt power. On June 17 at Coors, he launched a 486-foot homer against the Padres, the second-longest homer in the majors this season behind the Marlins’ Jesus Sanchez’s 496-foot blast at Coors on May 3. Cron’s average home run distance of 425 feet ranks first among hitters with 10 or more homers.

He comes from good stock. His father, Chris Cron, is the Athletics’ assistant hitting coach, and his brother, Kevin, plays first base for SSG Landers in Korea. Naturally, Cron can talk about hitting mechanics all day long, but he prefers to just summarize.

“My swing is a little unique but I don’t think it’s all that complicated,” Cron said. “I want to load up for power and I want to make sure and use my hands, make them central to what I’m doing. I’ve come to realize that my hands are the best part of my swing.”

Cron’s handiwork is on display during batting practice, often when manager Bud Black is pitching.

“Buddy will be out there and he’ll call out ‘hit and run,’ ” hitting coach Dave Magadan said. “And I’ll be damned if C.J. doesn’t hit a perfect line drive to right field. He’s got really good bat control, especially for such a big man.”

Cron’s swing has evolved over the years. Seeking more consistent power and improved timing, he added a higher leg kick prior to his 2020 season with Detroit, a season cut short by a knee injury. Cron’s primary goal was to see pitches better, giving him the opportunity to adjust his hands to the pitch, allowing him to pull the ball or go the other way.

“He has a really big leg kick now and that creates a lot of momentum,” said right fielder Charlie Blackmon, a four-time all-star and the 2017 NL batting champion.  “He’s able to do that while keeping his head relatively quiet. Usually, the more movement you have, the more your head moves. The more your head moves, the harder it is to hit.

“C.J. is able to have momentum and still to keep his head still, which is why he’s got that consistent contact and power.”

Third baseman Ryan McMahon said Cron’s hitting style is “very handsy and very whippy.”

“He’s a hip-hitter, that’s how I would classify him,” McMahon said. “He clears his hips and allows that momentum to carry the barrel through the zone. And he keeps the barrel in the zone for a long time and he trusts his hands to ride out those off-speed pitches.”

But Cron’s success stems from more than just brawn and swing mechanics.

“I’m not going to give any of his secrets away, but he’s not just up there wingin’ it, I’ll tell you that much,” Blackmon said. “He’s got a system, a program, and an approach that he likes to stick to. It’s certainly paying off.”

Magadan remembers an at-bat that illustrates Cron’s wily approach.

Opinion | Biden’s Saudi Arabia Visit Was Worse Than an Embarrassment Previous post Opinion | Biden’s Saudi Arabia Visit Was Worse Than an Embarrassment
Uber Agrees to Pay Penalties After Overcharging People With Disabilities Next post Uber Agrees to Pay Penalties After Overcharging People With Disabilities