Welcome to the Crone Zone.
San Diego Padres’ second baseman Jake Cronenworth ended up tied for second in NL Rookie of the Year voting after batting .285 with a .831 OPS. in 2020.
It’s a solid return after initially being seen as a footnote when he was included in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Cronenworth was recently selected for his first All-Star Game along with Fernando Tatis Jr., highlighting his recent progression.
Here are five of his top rookie cards, along with investment advice.
Cronenworth was plucked from obscurity but has still been included in every major set released in 2021.
2021 Bowman Chrome Jake Cronenworth RC #CRAJCR
If you can only buy one Cronenworth RC and budget isn’t an issue, look no further than the 2021 Bowman Chrome set.
Cronenworth is pictured mid-swing in the action shot, while his bat disappears beyond the borderline at the top of the card. There’s also a generously sized autograph located at the bottom.
As always, it comes with a massive collection of refractor parallels, while the HTA’s are non-retail.
2021 Bowman Chrome Auto Parallels: Refractors (/499), Speckle Refractors (/299), Purple Refractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), HTA Choice (/150) (HTA exclusive), Atomic Refractors (/100), Green Refractors (/99), Green Atomic Refractors (/99) (HTA exclusive), Yellow Refractors (/75), Gold Refractors (/50), Gold Shimmer Refractors (/50) (HTA exclusive), Orange Refractors (/25) (hobby exclusive), Orange Shimmer Refractors (/25) (hobby exclusive), Wave Orange Refractors (/25), (HTA exclusive), Red Refractors (/5), Red Shimmer Refractors (/5), Wave Red Refractors (/5) (HTA exclusive), Black Mojo Refractors (1/1) (HTA exclusive), Superfractors (1/1)
2021 Topps Tribute Jake Cronenworth RC #TA-JCR
As the name implies, 2021 Topps Tribute Baseball is more concerned with vets and retired legends than the latest rookies.
The 100-card set includes 90 of the former, while Cronenworth is one of only 10 RCs in the set.
It uses a diagonal border design which looks like a frame, with the image of the player enclosed inside.
The serial number is found on the front, with the on-card auto located towards the bottom.
2021 Tribute Auto Parallels: Blue (/150), Green (/99), Purple (/50), Orange (/25), Red (/10), Black (1/1), Printing Plates (1/1)
2021 Topps Inception Jake Cronenworth RPA #APC-JC
Courtesy of 2021 Topps Inception, this signed patch benefits from the solid and colorful designs that help the new collection stand out.
As well as an autograph, the player-worn memorabilia offers something a little different than the others that made this list.
The color makes it harder to find flaws, while his name and the RC logo are finished with chrome trim.
It’s also one of the more affordable options, even when looking at rarer parallels.
2021 Inception Autographed Patch Cards Parallels: Green (/99), Magenta (75), Red (25), Orange (10), Blue Button (6), Inception Manufacturer Logo (1/1)
2021 Topps Definitive Jake Cronenworth RC #DRA-JC1/#DRA-JC2
Serial numbered to 50 copies; there are two base versions of the Cronenworth auto found in 2021 Topps Definitive Collection Baseball.
They follow the same design, with the sole variation being the bat found in the #DRA-JC2 card.
Each has a trio of numbered parallels, which correspond with the circle’s color surrounding Cronenworth on the front.
It’s not the best image of the player, but they’re reasonably rare, and have decent potential as an investment piece.
2021 Topps Definitive Rookie Autographs Parallels: Green (/25), Purple (/10), Red (1/1)
2021 Topps Finest Jake Cronenworth RC #FA-JC
2021 Topps Finest is the place to look if you want cards that look anything but traditional.
An image of Cronenworth with a bat in hand has been placed against a loud background, with the addition of an on-card auto below.
It’s a matter of personal preference, but the backgrounds are slightly busier than they should be. However, it gives the cards a distinctive look, especially at numbered parallels.
2021 Topps Finest Autographs Parallels: Blue (/150), Green (/99), Green Wave (/99), Gold (/50), Orange (/25), Orange Wave (/25), Red (/5), Red Wave (/5), SuperFractor (1/1)
Cronenworth wasn’t meant to be a big deal.
He started as a fill-in at first base for Eric Hosmer and ended up as an All-Star who became just the third player in Padres history to hit for the cycle.
It’s not a bad return for a player in his second major league season, while he looks likely to build on his performances in the future.
“I was never the biggest prospect, so I had to find a way to convince myself I was the best player on the field at all times. I think that was part of it — carrying myself like I was that guy, even though I wasn’t.”
It seems to have paid off, as he’s not out of place on a star-studded Padres roster.
Given his age, Cronenworth will need to keep up his form over the next few seasons if his RCs are to be seen as a solid investment.