College Baseball Daily continues our countdown to the start of the 2011 College Baseball season by checking in on the Top 100 Players in the country. We will be providing one player per day until we reach number 1.
We continue the list today with number 23 with Utah junior catcher C.J. Cron. The Phoenix, Arizona, native attended Mountain Point High School. He had a solid senior season hitting .421 with eight home runs and 35 RBI. He ended up setting school records in that season for doubles, RBI and least strikeouts. He picked up several awards during his high school days including being named twice as all-state, all-region, all-city and a member of 5A State All-Star Team. His biggest honor came after his junior season in 2007 which he hit .419 with 46 RBI and 8 home runs in 30 games while being named Louisville Slugger Honorable Mention All-American. The Chicago White Sox selected him in the 44th round (1,320 overall) but decided to head to Utah to continue his baseball career.
C.J. stepped right into the Utes lineup as a freshman in 2009 appearing in 59 games (58 starts) as he rotated between catching and DHing. He finished the season with a .337 batting average with 11 homers and 58 RBI. He ended up leading the team in several categories including hits (83), doubles (19), home runs (11) and RBI (58). He picked up several awards including being named the 2009 MWC Freshman of the Year while picking up Freshman All-American honors from Baseball America (second-team catcher), NCBWA (second-team catcher) and Collegiate Baseball (designated hitter). Cron spent the 2009 summer season with the San Luis Obispo Blues who play an independent schedule in the summer. He ended up playing in 34 games hitting .338 with 23 RBI.
C.J. had one of the best seasons in the history of the Utah program in 2010 hitting .431 with 20 homers with 81 RBI which was the best on the Utes squad in all three categories. He also finished first in the Mountain West Conference in homers and RBI while finishing second in batting average behind New Mexico’s Justin Howard. He picked up several All-American honoros including being named first-team All-America honors last season from the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball newspaper. Cron was also the NCBWA’s District VIII Player of the Year, the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and named as a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, awarded to the top player in collegiate baseball.
Cron played this past summer with the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod Baseball League. He ended up playing in 19 games with a .275 batting average while hitting three homers and driving in 13 runs. His summer ended up being cut short as he partially tore his PCL tendon in his knee just before he was set to head off to the USA Collegiate National Team trials.
The honors for Cron have already started to roll in for the 2011 season as he was named a NCBWA Preseason All-American (DH) and Second-Team Preseason All-American from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.