Welcome to the Crone Zone, where the former Michigan baseball player is making a case for NL Rookie of the Year.
The 26 year old rookie has been one of the San Diego Padres best player’s in a lineup that includes Fernando Tatis Jr, Manny Machado, and Eric Hosmer.
Cronenworth owns a slash line of .342/.402/.608 with 3 HR and 12 RBI’s all while playing all four infield positions. He is known for his versatility going all the way back his time with Michigan baseball.
Cronenworth’s journey to the bigs
Jake had a productive career at U-M as a two way player spanning three seasons from 2013-2015. He hit .312 with 10 home runs and 117 RBI’s while also making 53 appearances on the mound with a 2.76 ERA.
He entered the draft after his junior season, touting his versatility.
The Tampa Bay Rays, a team that loves versatility, took Cronenworth with their seventh round selection, No. 208 overall in the 2015 draft.
After signing with the Rays, he stopped pitching. He started to do both again during the 2019 season with a 0.00 ERA in seven appearances.
From there, Cronenworth made his way through Tampa Bay’s minor league system. He spent five seasons in the minors, hitting .283 along the way, without cracking the major league roster.
The Rays decided to make some moves in the 2019 off-season and that included making some trades. On December 6th, the Rays sent Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth to the San Diego Padres for Hunter Renfroe, Xavier Edwards, and a PTBNL.
While Tommy Pham was the headliner going to San Diego, the Padres were also getting a good player in Cronenworth, just looking for an opportunity.
Coming into the 2020 season, with expanded rosters, Cronenworth cracked the opening day roster. He was one of seven infielders that the Padres would carry early in the season.
His major league debut came on July 26th as he entered the game in the 8th inning as a pinch runner. Cronenworth came up to the plate in the ninth inning and collected his first hit, a double, and RBI.
Since then, Cronenworth has continued to rake at the plate.
He got starts at first base, filling in for the injured Eric Hosmer, making plays in the field and in the box. When Hosmer returned, Cronenworth simply slid over to second base because his bat couldn’t be taken out of the lineup.
San Diego has recently become known as Slam Diego in the baseball world because they cant stop hitting grand slams. They hit 4 grand slams in 4 games, the first time that has been done in MLB history. Cronenworth kept the run going hitting a grand slam against the Houston Astros.
In 25 games, Cronenworth has accumulated a 1.4 WAR according to Baseball Reference. That puts him tied for 10th among all position players.
Jake Cronenworth has gone from two way player at Michigan to a big time contributor for the San Diego Padres. If he continues his hot start, he could be adding some hardware to his trophy case at the end of the season.