C.J. Cron – 1B
Last winter, the move to acquire C.J. Cron from the Tampa Bay Rays basically went under the radar. Despite coming off a season where he had hit 30 home runs, the Rays put him on waivers in a cost-cutting move and the Twins basically got a middle of the lineup force for nothing.
Although he eventually had to win the job over Tyler Austin and Lucas Duda, Cron was able to pass that test and thrive once he was inserted into the Twins everyday lineup. Entering Tuesday, Cron was hitting a career high .281 average and .538 slugging percentage thanks to 17 home runs and 50 RBI.
Along with playing steady defense at first base, Cron has been a sufficient upgrade to Joe Mauer, who hit .282, but had just six home runs and 48 RBI last season while hitting leadoff. While both players play a different style, it’s hard to argue the impact that Cron has had on the Twins lineup.
To crack the All-Star game’s starting lineup, Cron will have to overtake Cleveland’s Carlos Santana and New York’s Luke Voit. While both have matched the power that Cron has brought to the Twins this year, the all-around impact that Minnesota’s first baseman had should serve as a tiebreaker.