There were a bunch of surprises in what was a crazy and unpredictable 2020 fantasy baseball season that was shortened to 60 games. While many big name players struggled to adjust to the unprecedented season, other thrived. Then there were those performances that came out of nowhere such as what we saw out of San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Croneworth. Despite having not reached the majors until the age of 26 and with a modest draft pedigree after going in the seventh round of his class, Croneworth did a terrific job in batting .285 with 4 home runs and 3 stolen bases for the team. Add in 26 runs and 20 RBI and Croneworth became a five-tool fantasy baseball asset at a shallow position for those who took an early stab while ignoring the no-name history. Of course we have seen many instances of guys coming out of nowhere and then quickly moving back to oblivion the following year (Chris Shelton anyone?) but at the very least, Croneworth should remain a person of interest as a sleeper candidate at a second base spot that is not very deep.
Digging into the numbers a bit, it is easy to see how smooth of a hitting approach Croneworth has. Striking out at just a 15.6 K/9 rate and also walking at a 9.4 BB/9 clip, the kid certainly has an advanced understanding of the zone. The combination of walks and low strikeouts should make Croneworth a perennial threat to bat .300 or better and anyone who has owned DJ LeMahieu can understand the allure. Add in the fact that Croneworth has some power and stole 20 bases at Double-A in 2018 and there are a bunch of numbers here that could be quite intriguing in tandem.
Now again it is very possible Croneworth will get exposed in 2021 during his second tour around the game but there is also a chance he builds off his nice debut. There is risk for sure when cutting the check but given how shallow second base is this season, a stab here seems worth the effort.
2021 PROJECTION: .293 11 HR 63 RBI 73 RBI 14 SB