Angels first baseman/designated hitter C.J. Cron will undergo an arthroscopic debridement to address an impingement in his left thumb, the team announced today. Cron has been experiencing pain in the base of his thumb recently according to the team, and as Pedro Moura of the L.A. Times points out (Twitter link), the 26-year-old slugger did suffer a broken left hand back in July. The recovery time on the operation was announced as six to eight weeks, so Cron should be fully ready to go once Spring Training arrives.
Cron landed on the disabled list on July 9 and was sidelined through Aug. 20 with the hand fracture referenced by Moura. His offense upon his return was largely similar to his pre-injury production — though he did experience a mild dip in power — and he finished out the year with a strong .278/.325/.467 slash in a career-high 445 plate appearances. Perhaps more importantly, he continued to make strides in his plate discipline; while his walk rate was still a below-average 5.4 percent, that mark was up from 4.1 percent over his first two big league seasons. And, by cutting back on the number of out-of-zone pitches he chased, Cron was able to drop his strikeout rate from 20.3 percent to 16.9 percent.
While Cron isn’t an elite bat, it seems clear that he posses 20- to 25-homer pop in his bat if he can stay healthy over the life of a full season. To date, the 116 games he tallied in 2016 are a career-high, though, so he’ll hope for a healthier campaign in 2017, which will be the platform year for his first season of arbitration eligibility. Cron can be controlled through the 2020 season via that arbitration process.