Jake Cronenworth’s revenge tour continues, but it may not last for Padres

Is the Crone Zone back or is this just a mirage?
San Diego Padres infielder Jake Cronenworth
San Diego Padres infielder Jake Cronenworth / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

After finishing second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2020 and logging back-to-back All-Star campaigns in 2021 and 2022, it seemed as if Jake Cronenworth could do no wrong. But last season's disaster raised some eyebrows. Cronenworth saw a bit of a downturn in 2022, and then the bottom fell out last season when the San Diego Padres infielder hit just .229/.312/.378.

But since the start of this season, Cronenworth seems to have put his previous woes behind him. The left-handed slugger has been swinging a hot bat. Cronenworth, who has yet to record a home run in 2024, is hitting .296/.333/.484 with four extra-base hits and seven RBI.

But those numbers don't really tell the whole story. And while the Friar faithful would love to believe that Cronenworth is back to his All-Star form, that may not be entirely accurate.

Jake Cronenworth’s revenge tour continues, but it may not last for Padres

Cronenworth's .370 BABIP, which measures a player's batting average exclusively on balls hit into the field of play, is almost 100 points higher than it has been over the course of his entire major league career. On the surface, that would seem to indicate that Cronenworth has been more lucky than good this season.

But Cronenworth is also hitting the cover off the ball. According to Baseball Savant, the Padres infielder has an 18.5% barrel rate. That number is more than four times higher than the 4.4% barrel rate Cronenworth posted in 2023. Cronenworth also has a 55.6% hard-hit rate through the first nine games this season, which is a major improvement from his 33.2% hard-hit rate a year ago.

Cronenworth has also been using the opposite field less during the start of his 2024 campaign, and is hitting more balls to the pull-side. All of these numbers add up to Cronenworth leading the way for the Padres bats so far this season. While he hasn't yet matched the power numbers put up by Luis Campusano and Fernando Tatis Jr., Cronenworth has certainly been putting the ball in play and finding holes in the defense.

It's a small sample size, to be sure, but early indications are that Cronenworth is taking what the opposition is giving him. Is it sustainable? That's why they play the games, and the Padres have over 150 left on the schedule to determine that.

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