(BaseballStL) -- Albert Pujols' departure to the L.A Angels has benefited a handful of Cardinal veterans. Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, and Allen Craig all received long term contracts at competitive rates at their positions. However, Craig could be getting the biggest boost from the Pujols move.
When Pujols left for the Angels, Craig became the first baseman of the present and the future for the Cardinals. Craig always praised Pujols for showing him the ropes of being a professional, during the early years of his career. Craig is now having an All-Star first half since hitting over .320 his May 4th. Ironically, Craig didn't hit his first home run of the season until May 4th. He's reached double digit homers (10), with 66 70 RBI's in the first half.
Craig's offensive talent has been highly regarded since getting selected in the 8th round out Cal-Berkley in 2006. Since joining making his big league debut in 2008, Craig has a .307 career average, while combining strong power numbers. Craig is well on track to surpassing his 92 RBI's from last season.
At times, Craig shows no weakness in his hitting. Craig combines power, along high batting average and on-base average. The only thing that held Craig back from a full time job in the major leagues, was his lack of a true fielding position. The offense of Allen Craig has been too good hold down, and the 28 year old slugger is showing why he's one of the best, and most underrated hitter in the major leagues.