Jake Cronenworth

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Jacob John Cronenworth

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jake Cronenworth played on Team USA before reaching the majors in 2020.

Cronenworth was All-Michigan twice in baseball in high school and also played hockey and made the National Honor Society. He was 10-0 with a 1.82 ERA and hit .564 as a junior then was 10-1 and hit .498 as a senior. [1] He was 0-3 with 7 saves and a 1.93 ERA as a freshman at Michigan and hit .320/.386/.429. He tied for 6th in the Big Ten Conference in saves.

As a sophomore, he went 2-3 with 12 saves and a 1.75 ERA while his offensive production fell a bit (.268/.391/.366). He tied Josh Roeder for 2nd in the Big Ten in saves, setting a school record. [2] His junior year, he batted .338/.419/.494 with 62 runs in 64 games, while he was 3-7 with 8 saves and a 3.67 ERA. He tied for 4th in the Big Ten in losses, made the top 10 in batting average, tied Nick Hibbing for 4th in saves, led in runs (7 ahead of Jackson Glines), led in hits, tied Blake Headley for 5th in doubles, was 6th in RBI and tied for 5th in walks.

The Tampa Bay Rays took him in the 7th round of the 2015 amateur draft; the scout was Jim Bonnici. [3] He hit .291/.399/.398 for the 2015 Hudson Valley Renegades. The middle infielder was 6th in the New York-Penn League in OBP, between Logan Hill and Jeff Diehl. [4] He was named team MVP. [5]

In 2016, he played shortstop for the Charlotte Stone Crabs (.171/.270/.243 in 35 G) and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (.322/.429/.436). He was 5th in the Midwest League in average (between Eliezer Alvarez and Austin Allen) and led in OBP (.025 ahead of Alvarez). [6] Among Rays farmhands, he was 2nd with 81 runs (behind Willy Adames), tied Jake Fraley and Garrett Whitley for 2nd in triples (7), tied Adames for 9th with 57 RBI, was 5th with 67 walks (between Jake Bauers and Richie Shaffer) and was 2nd in OBP. Baseball America named him the best defensive shortstop in the MWL and having the best strike zone judgement as well as being the #18 prospect (between Trent Clark and Alarez). [7] Isan Diaz beat him out for All-Star shortstop honors.

Cronenworth split 2017 between Charlotte (.268/.364/.366 in 87 G) and the Montgomery Biscuits (.285/.363/.342 in 38 G), scoring 73 runs and drawing 66 walks. His 22-game hitting streak was the longest in that year's Florida State League. [8] He tied Dalton Kelly for 5th in the Rays chain in runs and was 3rd in walks. In 2018, he began seeing some action at 2B and 3B in addition to short. He hit .254/.323/.344 with 75 runs and 21 steals (in 24 tries) in 108 games for the Biscuits and .240/.269/.360 in 7 games for the Durham Bulls. He tied Shed Long for 4th in the Southern League in runs and tied for 6th in steals. He was 5th in the Rays chain with 79 runs (between Taylor Walls and Brandon Lowe) and tied Kelly for 7th in swipes. He had the third-lowest K rate in the SL. [9]

The Michigan native hit better in 2019 with Durham (.334/.429/.520, 75 R in 88 G) and had a 3-game rehab stint with the GCL Rays]]. He led the 2019 IL in average (.012 ahead of Jake Elmore), OBP (.008 ahead of Lowe), was 9th in slugging (between Rafael Ortega and Eric Haase), was 3rd in OPS (behind Ryan McBroom and Adam Duvall), tied for 8th in runs, He was 2nd in the Rays chain in runs (5 behind Wander Franco), tied Franco for 4th in doubles (27), led in OBP (.001 ahead of Lowe) and average (.002 ahead of Franco). With a rise in the popularity of two-way players thanks to Shohei Otani, he also took a turn on the mound for the first time in his pro career. He walked 8 but struck out 9 and allowed only 4 hits and two unearned runs in 7 1/3 IP. He even took part in a no-hitter, serving as the opener. He worked the 1st inning, striking out Andres Blanco and Travis Demeritte of the Gwinnett Stripers to finish a 1-2-3 frame before Luis Santos took over in the 2nd; Cole Sulser completed the three-pitcher no-no. [10] He made the IL All-Star team at short. [11]

Cronenworth was picked for the US squad for the 2019 Premier 12, not the team's only player with two-way talent (Clayton Andrews was on the staff). He hit only .103/.133/.241 as the US starting shortstop and fielded .970. He homered off Carlos Sano in a 10-8 win over the Dominican national team to advance to the second round. [12] He was then dealt with Tommy Pham to the San Diego Padres for Hunter Renfroe, Team USA double-play partner Xavier Edwards and a player to be named later. [13]

He made his major league debut with the Padres on July 26, 2020, pinch-running for Eric Hosmer in the bottom of the 8th after Hosmer and Wil Myers had started the inning with back-to-back walks against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He went on to score the tying run on a single by pinch-hitter Greg Garcia. He stayed in the game at first base, then in the bottom of the 9th, after Arizona had scored twice to take a 4-2 lead, he doubled off Archie Bradley to drive in Trent Grisham from second base, but Myers then grounded out to end the game. He quickly won a starting job with the Padres and was named the National League Rookie of the Month for August when he hit .355 with 4 homers and 15 RBIs. He ended the year at .285 in 54 games, with 4 homers, 26 runs and 20 RBIs. In the postseason, he was 5 for 8 with a triple and a homer as the Padres defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Series, and 2 for 10 in his team's loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series. Following the season, he was named a member of the 2020 Topps All-Star Rookie Team as the second baseman.

On April 16, 2021, he got to make his major league pitching debut in a 12-inning game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tim Hill, the Padres' 9th pitcher of the evening, had been roughed up and had retired only one batter, and the game was clearly lost. Cronenworth moved over from second base to pitch, with P Joe Musgrove making his position player debut to fill the missing defensive spot, and he completed the inning as the Padres lost the game, 11-6. In his regular job as a hitter and second baseman, he hit .276 with 12 homers, 34 RBIs and 63 runs scored to earn a spot as a reserve on the All-Star team. He appeared at first base in the game. In the first game of the second half, against the Washington Nationals on July 16th, he hit for the cycle for the first time of his career, going 4-for-5 with 4 RBIs as the Padres demolished the Nats, 24-8. He was just the third player in Padres history to achieve a cycle, after Matt Kemp and Wil Myers, who incidentally hit a grand slam in the game. It was the most runs in a game in team history.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. Michigan bio
  2. ibid.
  3. 2019 Rays Media Guide, pg. 195
  4. MILB.com
  5. 2019 Rays Media Guide, pg. 195
  6. MILB.com MWL leaders
  7. 2019 Rays Media Guide, pg. 195; 2017 Baseball Almanac, pg. 382
  8. 2019 Rays Media Guide, pg. 195
  9. ibid.
  10. MILB.com article on the no-hitter
  11. IL News release
  12. 2019 Premier 12
  13. ESPN.com

Further Reading[edit]

  • AJ Cassavell: "Cronenworth gets cycle as SD scores 24: Padres set club record for runs in a game in demolition of Nats", mlb.com, July 17, 2021. [1]
  • Bernie Wilson (Associated Press): "Padres rookie Jake Cronenworth making big impression", USA Today, September 4, 2020. [2]

Related Sites[edit]