66ers' Cron mashes way to 101 RBIs

Angels prospect plates six, becomes first to century mark

By Jonathan Raymond / Special to MLB.com | July 27, 2012 10:25 PM ET

As a middle-of-the-order hitter, C.J. Cron feels it's his responsibility to drive in as many runs as possible. So far, he's living up to that responsibility.

The Angels' newly minted top prospect homered, doubled and drove in a season-high six runs Friday night to power Class A Advanced Inland Empire to a 15-1 rout of Lancaster.

Cron increased his RBI total to 101, becoming the first Minor Leaguer this season to reach the century mark.

"Everything's just kind of going good. The guys in front of me are on base it seems like every time, I'm getting good pitches to hit in those situations and I'm not missing them," he said. "I knew it was close [to 100 RBIs], knew I was approaching it, but I didn't think I'd get six in one game. It's just a compliment to all the guys on the team that get on base in front of me and give me that opportunity."

The 22-year-old first baseman has been prolific in the heart of the order for the 66ers, hitting .292 with 19 homers, 23 doubles and a .496 slugging percentage. Last year, his first since being selected 11th overall in the 2011 Draft, he batted .308 with 13 homers and 41 RBIs while slugging .629 for Rookie-level Orem.

"[Driving in runs] is kind of my job as a middle-of-the-order guy," Cron said. "My whole goal was basically to drive in as many runs as I can. I'm not the fastest guy, so I don't score too many, so I want to at least knock them in for the team. And I've done a good job of that so far."

He's been especially strong in that regard lately, with more homers (7) and RBIs (32) and a higher slugging percentage (.560) in July than any other month this season. He carried a 15-game hitting streak and nine-game RBI streak into Thursday's game, went 0-for-1 and left "strictly as a rest kind of thing."

Cron said he exited to give teammate Jose Jimenez a chance to get some time at first base, adding that those kinds of streaks aren't really much of a concern.

"[Manager Bill] Haselman actually mentioned that to me, asked me if it mattered," he said. "Whatever's best for the team, I'll do. I try not get too caught up in that kind of stuff."

The University of Utah product is fourth in the California League with 19 homers, while the 101 RBIs are 23 more than his closest pursuer.

"To already have 100 is pretty cool. Hopefully, I get a few more before the season's over," Cron said. "Like I said, the guys in front of me, they're doing their job getting on base and I'm just doing my job. That's how it works."

Cron became the Angels' top prospect earlier Friday when the club shipped infielder Jean Segura and two pitching prospects to the Brewers for former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke.

Angels No. 5 prospect Taylor Lindsey went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs on Friday, while No. 16 prospect Randal Grichuk and Drew Heid also went yard.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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