Last season Jake Cronenworth burst onto the fantasy baseball scene. He was even hitting so well he earned the name “Rake” Cronenworth. His overall offensive production slowed down some in August, but even with the offense declining he was still playing almost every day.
Cronenworth’s strikeout rate rose, his groundball rate increased from 40.6% to 49.4%, and his hard-hit rate dropped from 42.4% to 31.6%. The overall production, outside of average, was still around if not better than the league average, so the concerns on Cronenworth’s decline should not be as significant as they became.
After the strong 2020 season, many, including myself, were all in on Cronenworth heading into early draft season. That slowly changed as the Padres kept adding playing time competition in Ha-Seong Kim and Jurickson Profar. These roster additions brought on valid concerns about Cronenworth’s playing time. When Kim was signed there reports saying he would play 2B since his regular SS was occupied by Fernando Tatis Jr (who since signed a monster contract). The Kim signing was the first bummer for Cronenworth, but then Profar was resigned, and that through a whole other wrench into 2B and even a fourth OF situation.
Kim has shown a consistent 20+ home run and 20+ stolen base upside with a .300 average. Those are elite numbers and would make Kim one of the top 2B in baseball. The buzz was mighty surrounding the Kim signing, but as time has passed, things have quieted down quite a bit about Kim being the everyday 2B.
Then Profar joins the mix, and he is coming off strong 2018-19 full seasons that saw 20 home runs and at least nine stolen bases in each season. Quite productive for a player capable of playing 2B as well as some OF positions. Hmmm, that sounds like a utility-type player they already have, right?
With both signings, Cronenworth has seen his ADP drop. Over the last couple of weeks, his NFBC online ADP sits at 220, with a min pick of 169 and a max of 283. I expect his ADP to rise and get closer to the 169 range, maybe even higher, as some recent news has come out and should work very well in Rake’s favor. On Tuesday’s Fantasy in 15, some great reports were working in Cronenworth’s favor.
There were comments that Kim can go to the minors for the first two years of his contract with no penalty. With concerns about Kim’s adjustment to MLB pitching, there is a substantial chance he starts the season in the minors. Next, all reports coming out of San Diego say Cronenworth is the EVERY DAY 2B, and it will take a lot to move him out of the position. He may still play some OF from time to time, but he appears to be the everyday 2B. Great news!!!!!
With the recent news, expect Cronenworth’s ADP to climb once again. The information is excellent, but let me show a little caution as well. He will likely hit near the bottom of the Padres lineup because, well, it is just loaded. He will still be quite productive with a double-digit home run and stolen base upside, but realize the lineup spot will ding up the overall stat profile a bit. He is still a firm target of mine at 2B. He will get a little boost in OBP formats, and I will look to draft around the Tommy Edman time in drafts which will move him up boards a lot. Make sure he fits your roster construction as you will sacrifice some power, but he brings some nice upside at the not so lovely 2B position.
JAKE “RAKE” CRONENWORTH IS BACK!!!!!