After nine seasons in the Major Leagues and over 11 years since first being drafted – not to mention 32 years on the blue marble we call Earth – C.J. Cron has earned a spot in the All-Star Game.
“It’s cool,” Cron said in front of his locker back at Coors Field for the first time since Sunday’s announcement. “Pretty sweet to be selected in my first game, and I’m honored to represent this ball club.”
Cron has quietly been one of the best run producers in the sport over the last calendar year.
Rockies fans have been well-aware of his offensive prowess and now the rest of the league has taken notice.
Since the previous All-Star break, the Rockies’ first baseman has 123 RBI, more than any other player in MLB, and his 36 home runs during that span are fourth-most amongst those at his position.
“They gave me the opportunity to play every day and, as a player, that’s all you really want is to be able to showcase your skill set day in, day out,” he shared of the team. “That’s the main reason I signed here was for the opportunity and I think it worked out for me.”
Cron has clearly made the most of his time in Colorado, not only through his performance, but in his ability to show up and play nearly every day despite the typical aches and pains of the marathon season.
He’s one of 22 players who have played 152 games or more since the last Midsummer Classic.
And he’ll get the chance to play in one more at Dodger Stadium on July 19.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Cron said of selection before a clubhouse of teammates. “I didn’t know who (Bud) was going to say, but when he said my name I was obviously super excited. And just seeing all the love from your teammates is special and that’s what I’ll remember the most.”
With Kris Bryant being placed on the paternity list and away from the team for at least three days, Sam Hilliard was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque.
Since being optioned on June 17, Hilliard slashed .279/.370/.541 in Pacific Coast League play across 16 games.
“It took a little while, took about a week, for me to feel comfortable again,” he said of the demotion, “But now I’m starting to feel like my old self again. Hopefully, I can keep that momentum rolling and keep it going.”
Getting the ball in the air was part of his focus with the Isotopes. The reports from Albuquerque manager Warren Schaeffer and hitting coach Jordan Pacheco supported Hilliard’s progress following the four double and four home run effort.
“His in-game reps have helped him become a little bit more consistent,” Black said of the change in Hilliard’s approach.
The true results, according to the sixth-year skipper will be Hilliard’s chase rate or ability to make contact. It was at 27.0% in 126 ABs with Colorado earlier in the season, but went the wrong direction at Triple-A at 29.5% over 61 ABs.
When Bryant returns, it wouldn’t be altogether surprising to see a scenario that keeps Hilliard with the Rockies. That would reduce Garrett Hampson’s playing time in the outfield, which has already been reduced since last year. But if the organization feels Elehuris Montero requires more consistent at-bats, then the rookie would be the one headed back down I-25.
- In the middle of a failed late rally in the eighth-inning Monday night, José Iglesias recorded his 1,000th career base hit with an RBI-double. In doing so, he became just the 19th Cuban-born player to reach the milestone.
- Antonio Senzatela is scheduled to pitch in Sacramento on Tuesday night with Albuquerque as he rehabilitates a right shoulder (inflammation) that has sidelined him since July 2. Black said the game plan is for the 27-year-old to throw five inning or 75 pitches, give or take.