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Is Jake Cronenworth the NL ROY?

@wboor
August 18, 2020

Jake Cronenworth's campaign to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award is in full swing. A month ago, it would have taken a pretty deep dive to find Cronenworth's name on a list of NL ROY candidates, but things change fast in 2020, and the Padres' No. 19

Jake Cronenworth's campaign to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award is in full swing.

A month ago, it would have taken a pretty deep dive to find Cronenworth's name on a list of NL ROY candidates, but things change fast in 2020, and the Padres' No. 19 prospect has quickly vaulted himself to the very front of the race. continued his fast start with a 2-for-3 performance in San Diego's 6-4 win over the Rangers on Tuesday.

Acquired from the Rays in December, Cronenworth was viewed as an average defender with a plus arm and the ability to make all the necessary plays. He's lived up to that billing and then some. The 26-year-old, a seventh-round pick from the 2015 Draft, has seen time at all four infield spots this season and has made both the routine and highlight-worthy plays. While he hasn't been asked to pitch yet, Cronenworth was a two-way player at Michigan and in the Rays' system, so it's certainly possible we could see him on the mound at some point this year, too.

Cronenworth's defensive value shouldn't overshadow the contributions he's made to the Padres' offense. He is slashing .321/.387/.994 and has reached base in five straight games.

The American League Rookie of the Year race is loaded with options, but at the moment, the NL ballot isn't nearly as crowded. Cronenworth has clearly put himself in a good position, and if he continues to produce, it's looking like he may end the season with an addition to his trophy case.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.