Everyone, by now, knows how deep the Padres minor league system is. With guys like Mackenzie Gore, Luis Patino, CJ Abrams, and Robert Hassell, it’s easy to overlook the lesser known prospects in the Padres system.
In steps Jake Cronenworth, who the Padres acquired from the Rays along with Tommy Pham for Hunter Renfroe and Xavier Edwards in December 2019. According to MLB Pipeline, Cronenworth is the Padres 19th overall prospect.
Cronenworth is older in terms of prospects, but the 26-year-old is among the Padres better hitting prospects. With a strong showing in summer camp, the lefty-hitting Cronenworth would break camp with the Padres. 2019 proved to be Cronenworth’s breakout year as he hit .334/.429/.520 with a 147 WRC+ and a .412 wOBA in 406 plate appearances with Triple-A Durham.
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Now in San Diego, Cronenworth in 33 plate appearances he has hit a combined .344/.364/.750 with a 201 wRC+ and a .460 wOBA. Something fairly impressive is Cronenworth has two triples in those 33 plate appearances. Breaking him down further, he has a 44.4 percent hard-hit percentage, the MLB average is 34.7 percent. There is a factor of fewer at bats with Cronenworth so that’s bound to decline. However, with how well Cronenworth can hit, I don’t think that number changes too much. Another interesting stat is that Cronenworth’s average exit velocity is about two MPH greater than the average MLB, with Cronenworth’s EV being 90.8 MPH and the MLB average being 88.2 MPH.
Not only has he been a joy to watch at the plate, but he’s brought his versatility and athleticism to the Padres. When Eric Hosmer got sick, the Padres slotted Cronenworth at first base and just watching highlights it looked like the 26-year-old rookie was a veteran at first base with his instincts and range. Even robbing Dodgers shortstop Cory Seager of a hit with a leaping catch.
We all know how much of a pitchers park Petco is and Cronenworth has hit an insane .368/.368/.842 with one home run and a 1.211 OPS in 19 at-bats at Petco Park. He has been playing so well that we might see him starting second base on a regular basis for the Padres. Cronenworth is slowly becoming one of my favorite players to watch, and he should be yours as well. He doesn’t have the flair of say … Fernando Tatis Jr. but what he brings to the table on a daily basis can only be described as superb.
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