CJ Cron – .259 AVG, 11 HR, .300 OBP, .473 SLG, 91 wRC+
Despite dealing with some injuries as of late, Cron can still be an excellent power bat. His expected batting average of .276 is a career-high and he has managed to also keep his barrel rate at 15.8% (his highest total since 2020). Given the expected stats, it’s fair to say that Cron has been at least somewhat unlucky this year (and perhaps has still been dealing with injuries). On the defensive side, Cron remains a decent option in the field as he ranks in the 74th percentile for outs-above-average. It probably doesn’t even need to be said but Cron has absolutely zero speed.
As with any player coming from Coors, there will be those that are quick to put the label of “Coors merchant” on him. This isn’t totally accurate. Cron has actually hit more home runs away (6) than he has at home (5) this year. Despite the power being, for the most part, balanced between his home and away splits, Cron has batted .276 at home compared to .240 on the road. Overall, taking into account his expected statistics and a change of scenery, I think rest-of-season we can expect Cron to hit 8-10 home runs while hitting somewhere between .260 to .270, provided he stays healthy.
Randal Grichuk – .312 AVG, 8 HR, .367, .502 SLG, 119 wRC+
It appears that Grichuk has completely changed his batting approach this year. First, he’s cut his ground ball rate by 13% from 50% in 2022 to 37% in 2023. As a result of this change, Grichuk is hitting the most line drives of his career, as 31% of his total hits have been classified as line drives. Additionally, he’s been pulling the ball 45.2% of the time, a 12% increase from his 2022 figure of 33.9% and his highest total since 2017. Similarly, his solid contact percentage of 8% is his highest total since 2016.
While the batting profile is showing improvement, there are some holes in Grichuk’s game. First, his walk rate of 6.6% ranks him in the bottom 25% of batters. On the defensive side, Grichuk has been absolutely dreadful with fourth-percentile outs above average and sixth-percentile outfielder jump. Finally, while his solid contact percentage has jumped, his barrel percentage has fallen into the bottom 39% of batters.
His home/away splits are a bit more stark than Cron’s; however, his batting floor seems to be higher this year. At home, Grichuk is batting an excellent .345 and has hit four home runs. On the road, Grichuk is still batting .282 and has also hit four home runs. Ultimately, I think we should be able to see 6-8 more home runs for Grichuk in an Angels uniform and I do think he will be able to keep his batting average at around .300. I think that the changes he made to his batting approach are very encouraging and his 88th percentile expected batting average speaks to that.