Former Ute star, first-round pick Cron embraces pressure

If there is an award to be won, chances are Angels first-round selection and current Owlz first baseman CJ Cron has won it.  He even holds an unofficial record as the only player to get three hits off of No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg in a game.

His collegiate numbers are imposing: .396 batting average, 46 home runs, 198 RBI’s, and a .713 slugging percentage.

On top of the numbers, it helps that he comes from a baseball family.  His father, Chris, played for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (then the Los Angeles Angels) and is currently coaching in the Detroit Tigers system.  He also has a brother, Kevin, who was drafted in the third round by the Seattle Mariners. Kevin is still deciding between playing for the Mariners or following through on his commitment to TCU.

“I’ve been around the game ever since I could walk, coming to the ballpark every day with my dad,” Cron said.  “Hanging out with the guys I think taught me a lot about how to conduct myself.”

What does that all mean for the Angels and manager Tom Kotchman?  For both, the only thing that matters is his production as a starter with the Owlz.

In his initial exchange with Kotchman he was told, “Just go out and do what you do. You’re here for a reason and don’t try to do anything too much.”

The last position player the Angels drafted out of college was Troy Glaus, who led them to a championship title and earned a World Series MVP.

“I think I enjoy pressure. When there’s no pressure the game gets kind of boring sometimes.” — Owlz rookie C.J. Cron

Hype has no place with coach Kotchman and the Angels organization, however.  There will be nothing handed to Cron. He will have to prove to Kotchman that he deserves his spot in the lineup.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t pressure for Cron to produce, which suits him just fine.

“I think I enjoy pressure,” Cron said. “When there’s no pressure the game gets kind of boring sometimes.  Baseball players, we strive off pressure, I’m definitely going to look forward to it.”

The real winners for now are the Owlz organization and fans.  Despite a torn labrum, Cron has decided to postpone surgery until after the season ends for the Owlz.

Although not a Utah native, Cron played his college ball at the University of Utah, and local fans will get the chance to continue watching him develop in person.

The Owlz could not have asked for a better situation – a good team for the standings and a local star to bring people to the stands.

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