By Joseph Hayes
Jake Cronenworth has always been a highly effective defensive player.
Going back to his days playing for St. Clair High School in the Blue Water Area, Cronenworth was always known for being a versatile and consistently effective player.
That continued at the University of Michigan where he continued to have success, showing constant highly rated play on defense in the infield and consistency also from the plate as an offensive player and even as a pitcher.
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None of that progress has concluded even with Cronenworth now playing in the major leagues with the San Diego Padres.
With the same approach that made him successful over time, Cronenworth is now taking all of Major League Baseball by storm.
Cronenworth has been effective playing multiple positions and continues to rate highly among all of his peers in the league. He currently ranks fourth defensively among all second baseman.
That gives the Padres three defenders that rank highly among all defensive players in the league. Fernando Tatis Jr. ranks sixth for the Padres at shortstop and centerfielder Trent Grisham ranks 12th.
“Any time, defensively, you can be strong up the middle, that’s a plus,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “Tatis’ game defensively continues to improve. Jake, he’s doing a great job at all the positions he’s been at, and he’s settled in at second. The way Grisham’s moving off the ball, gliding, running down balls, that’s been big.”
Cronenworth seems to have surprised nearly everyone but his home town with his success. He’s in the conversation for National League Rookie of the Year and appears to have earned himself a lasting position in the Padres lineup.
“Jake comes from a hockey background where the game is so fast paced that you must always be prepared for action,” St. Clair baseball coach Dennis White said of Cronenworth’s defensive approach.
“His athleticism and focus on anticipating the next pitch, along with his instincts serve him well. He handles stress very well because he just wants to play the game. He is a special player.”