Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Champ or Chump: Kevin Cron and Gavin Lux


While September callups are typically associated with Quad-A guys that fantasy owners are never going to hear from again, there were quite a few interesting names summoned this year. Kevin Cron of the Arizona Diamondbacks (and younger brother of C.J. Cron) could produce big power numbers if he gets a chance to play, making him a worthwhile speculative add if you're desperate for pop. He's also an intriguing name to stash in the back of your mind for 2020 drafts.

Of course, the biggest name is Gavin Lux of the Los Angeles Dodgers. You'd have to be insane not to roll the dice on his potential considering how late we are in the year, but there are several red flags in the top prospect's minor league profile that make this author leery of burning a lot of draft capital for his 2020.

Keep in mind, our Champ / Chump conclusions are based on whether we think a player will outperform their expectations. For example, a pitcher we view as "Tier 2" can be a Champ if they're seen as a Tier 3 pitcher, or they could be a Chump if they're perceived as a Tier 1 pitcher. All ownership rates are from Yahoo! leagues unless otherwise noted. Let's take a closer look at Cron and Lux, shall we?

Editor's Note: Get our 2020 MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our draft kit, premium rankings, player projections and outlooks, our top sleepers, dynasty and prospect rankings, 20 preseason and in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research and tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Kevin Cron (1B/3B, ARI)

1% Owned

Cron already owns 65 big league PAs on the season, slamming a respectable five homers but striking out an ugly 41.5% of the time. The good news is that the 26-year old has an extensive minor league resume that suggests the power is real while the K% won't be quite that bad. The bad news is that the suddenly contending D-Backs may not give him the chance to show what he can do until next year.

Cron first reached Double-A in 2016, but he was overwhelmed to the tune of .222/.278/.437 with 26 HR in 510 PAs. He struck out too often (26.2 K%), but a microscopic .248 BABIP was the biggest reason for his struggles. Importantly, he hit a ton of fly balls (52.4 FB%). We'll get back to that shortly.

Cron repeated the level in 2017, producing a much better .283/.357/.497 line with 25 long balls in 588 PAs. He walked more (9.5 BB% vs. 6.5% the year before) while striking out less (22.8 K%), always a good indication that a player is ready for a new challenge. His BABIP jumped to .332, and he again posted a very high FB% (50.4).

Cron graduated to Triple-A for 2018 and maintained most of his gains from the prior campaign. He hit .309/.368/.554 with 22 big flies in just 438 PAs, walking at a reasonable 8.2% rate while keeping the strikeouts in check (22.8 K%). He also posted a .359 BABIP and 47.3 FB%. Cron repeated the level this season, taking advantage of the new ball to slash a ridiculous .331/.449/.777 with 38 HR in just 377 PAs. His walk rate exploded (16.2 BB%), his strikeouts declined (20.4%), and he hit a million fly balls (49.8 FB%).

Clearly, Cron isn't as good as his Triple-A line this year because nobody is. However, his plate discipline metrics have consistently been good. Given time, Cron should be able to post comparable K% and BB% marks in the major leagues. More importantly, he hits a ton of fly balls with slightly above average power (60-grade per Baseball Savant). Rhys Hoskins and Pete Alonso both profiled similarly when they made their big league debuts, and both fared especially well in their rookie campaigns.

If you want one more tidbit of information, consider this: Cron's 27.3% rate of Brls/BBE ranks first among all big leaguers with at least 30 BBEs this season (Cron has 33). His 98.9 mph average airborne exit velocity ranks fifth in the same sample. Yes, it's a small sample. However, you can't fake special contact, and this is a guy who has been setting power records since he was in high school.

Cron's short-term outlook depends on how much Arizona believes in Jake Lamb, as that's who's playing time he would most likely be cutting into. Long-term, however, Cron is a guy who should be on far more fantasy radars than he currently is. He's probably available in your league, so why not take a chance?

Verdict: Champ (based on elite power upside that everybody seems to be sleeping on)

 

Gavin Lux (SS/2B, LAD)

48% Owned

Lux is a 21-year-old on the deepest team in baseball, so most pundits assumed that he wouldn't get a chance in 2019. Max Muncy is on the IL, however, and there are rumblings that Lux could make the club's postseason roster as a result. The former first-rounder's potential is through the roof, but might need to make a few adjustments before he's ready to anchor fantasy rosters.

Lux first cracked the High Minors last season, slashing .324/.408/.495 with four homers and a pair of steals in 120 PAs. He walked a lot (11.7 BB%) without striking out often (16.7 K%), always a good sign for a player's future. However, he had a hard time elevating the ball (27.4 FB%) despite plus power (17.4% HR/FB), presenting a clear avenue for improvement. He was also caught on the bases twice to go with his two steals, a 50% success rate that won't fly with a team as analytical as LA.

Lux returned to Double-A to begin the 2019 season, slashing .313/.375/.521 with 13 HR and seven steals in 291 PAs. Both his BB% (9.6) and K% (20.6) moved in the wrong direction but remained strong. His FB% fell to just 26.4% even as his HR/FB surged to 24.5%. He was also caught thrice on the bases. Still, his performance was good enough to earn a promotion to Triple-A and the nitro-charged baseball.

Lux took full advantage, slashing .392/.478/.719 with 13 homers and three steals (but three CS) in 232 PAs. His 32.5 FB% was slightly higher than it was at Double-A, but still not where fantasy owners would want it (26% HR/FB). His .451 BABIP is obviously unsustainable over a full season, but his plate discipline metrics (14.2 BB%, 18.1 K%) suggest that he's ready to make these adjustments at the highest level.

Lux was originally seen as a defense-first shortstop, but scouts have come around on his offensive upside as well. FanGraphs projects a 55-grade hit tool in the future (though it's only 35 right now), with 40/55 Game Power, 55/60 Raw Power, and 55-grade speed. Baseball Savant is more optimistic, seeing 60-hit, 55-power, and 60-run. Scouts also love his makeup, and Lux is reportedly working to add loft to his swing. Perhaps a conversation with teammate Justin Turner is in order?

Lux hit eighth in his MLB debut but first in his second big league start, so the Dodgers are sending mixed signals as to what his lineup role will be. A blend of power and speed with regular playing time in the loaded LA lineup is too good to pass up, so burning whatever FAAB you have left is probably the best short-term play here. However, a pedestrian success rate on MiLB stolen base attempts and low FB% rates suggest that he might still be a few years away from superstardom. Bid for his services in 2020 accordingly.

Verdict: Champ (as a waiver add in 2019), Chump (based on likely draft day cost in 2020)

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice




More Recent Articles

 

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Conference Championships Matchups Analysis

Welcome to our NFL Conference Championships matchups analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering both of the AFC and NFC contests from the Sunday slate, helping you make the best decisions for your DFS contests this weekend. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries... Read More


Conference Championships Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


Running Back ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, a sure-fire player is expected to reward his owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they end up as a season-long dud, though,... Read More


Dynasty Players to Sell in 2020

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano share their top sell candidates for dynasty football leagues in the 2020 fantasy football preseason. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210,... Read More


Biggest Surprises of 2019: Tight End

The 2019 NFL season was anything but predictable. I mean, the Tennessee Titans made the AFC title game! Andrew Luck retired right before the season! [Insert one of many, many other things here, because all lists need three items but I couldn't decide between all the possible third options.] One position where things at the... Read More


Wide Receiver ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward his owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Quarterback

The 2019 NFL season is over, and it's time to look back on what happened. 2019 was a year where some quarterbacks -- Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen -- leaped up to the top of the fantasy charts, while other guys faded from where they were expected to perform. Today, I want to talk about three... Read More


Four and Out: Fantasy Outlooks for Divisional Round Losers

For the four teams that were eliminated in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, the offseason has begun. For many fantasy football owners, the days have already started counting down to next season. Owners in dynasty leagues have started to mull over their decisions.  How some guys perform in the playoffs can certainly alter... Read More


Quarterback ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward their owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Wide Receivers

After a very interesting season of fantasy football action, many owners were left with a bitter taste in their mouth from a few of the “elite” NFL wide receivers. While Michael Thomas dominated and Julio Jones was his usual reliable self, not all was good if you played it safe by taking a receiver early.... Read More


Quarterback Risers and Fallers: 2019 Season Review

This article will examine the biggest risers and fallers at the quarterback position, which proved to be the most impactful in fantasy leagues as is often the case. Of the top-25 players in fantasy this season, 18 of them played the QB position and none of the 18 scored less than 280 fantasy points on... Read More


XFL Fantasy Football Rankings (Preseason)

As of this writing, there is exactly one month until XFL regular-season action begins. On February 8, the latest upstart professional league will kickoff (again) with spring football. It goes without saying that we hope it goes better than the first time, back in 2001, and lasts longer than the AAF. Before you settle in... Read More


Wide Receiver Risers and Fallers: 2019 Season Review

We continue our series covering the biggest risers and fallers of 2019 with the wide receiver position. I'll look at both 2018 and 2019 statistical outcomes from every player, contrast their performances, calculate differences in each category and come up with the most prominent names going forward. This past season, receivers didn't dominate in fantasy,... Read More


2020 Early Sleepers and Draft Targets: Running Back

It is going to be almost impossible to win your fantasy football league in 2020 without a strong set of running backs, even in today’s pass-happy NFL. While quarterbacks and wide receivers have gained importance in fantasy football in recent years, building your fantasy roster around your running back corps is still one of the... Read More


Top Rebound Candidates for 2020

Is it way too early to be thinking about fantasy football for the 2020 season? Yes. Are we going to do it anyway? You bet we are. While coaches, coordinators, players, and rookies will change some things, you're still going to be able to get an idea of where certain players are going to be... Read More