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ESPN ranks D-backs’ designated hitter options in Cron, Lamb

Kevin Cron #32 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a three-run home run for his first career MLB home run in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on June 7, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

In a potential return for MLB, National League teams will likely have a new wrinkle to implement.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on a proposal put forth by MLB and approved by owners that calls for resuming the season in July without fans and implementing a DH across both leagues, among other changes. The proposal still has to get approval from the MLB Players Association.

Naturally, the question becomes who that benefits and hurts the most.

For Arizona, ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle doesn’t lean one way or the other too much and ranked them No. 18 among all 30 teams, noting the two best options as Kevin Cron and Jake Lamb.

The Diamondbacks didn’t have an obvious spot for big Kevin Cron, who mashed 45 homers across all levels last season. Cron is 27, so it’s kind of now or never for Arizona to maximize his power potential. Given that, this sudden chance to get him quasi-everyday at-bats as a DH is a nice development — insofar as any of the fallout from the shutdown can be termed “nice.” I’ve assigned Cron the majority of time at the DH spot, though I’ve given about 40% of the time to veteran Jake Lamb. If Lamb doesn’t look poised for a bounce-back, even more of that time could go Cron’s way. That pair also could platoon some, though with Cron the righty, you wouldn’t want to confine him to the lesser portion of the arrangement unless he looks overmatched.

Doolittle ranked the teams by the projected run production out of the corresponding DHs, also factoring in defensive upgrades and downgrades based on who moves into that spot.

Both the D-backs’ options seemingly change little for Arizona’s defensive look.

Cron spent all of his 2019 in the field playing first, where Christian Walker started 132 of the team’s games.

As for Lamb, he got 19 starts at first and another 34 at third base. Eduardo Escobar dominated reps at the hot corner with 122 starts.

Cron hit 39 of those 45 homers at Triple-A Reno last season, with six more coming in the majors and a .211 batting average. He led the D-backs last year in DH interleague play starts with four.

Lamb could certainly be a situational play against right-handed pitching. The lefty is an awful career .169 hitter in 440 plate appearances against left-handed pitching while batting .259 with a solid OPS of .814 against righties.

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