ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- When the Cardinals drafted Allen Craig in the 8th round of the 2006 MLB Draft they knew he probably wasn’t going to stick around at the position he played in college. That would be shortstop.
What they were pretty sure about was his ability to hit. And hit he has done ever since signing that first contract.
Craig’s two home runs against the Rockies gives him 13 for the season in just 152 at-bats. At that rate he’d hit 42 bombs in 500 ABs. Not bad, huh?
Throw in the fact he’s hitting .322 with a .394 on-base percentage and a 1.046 OPS and he’s doing just about everything that you can do on the field. Oh, by the way, he also made an incredible diving stop to finish off last night’s game against the Rockies, showing what he can do on the defensive end.
Pure and simple, Allen Craig needs to be playing first base and hitting fourth from now until the economics of baseball take him away from St. Louis. This guy’s a beast.
When I went to Anaheim to interview Albert Pujols in May the first person he asked me about was Craig. He wanted to know how he was doing and what impact he was having. Pujols is a huge Allen Craig fan. That tells you a lot about how good the former collegiate shortstop can be.
I’m a huge fan of Matt Adams and think he’s got a chance to be a really good player at the big league level. But with mega-prospect Oscar Taveras pegged for right field in the majors there really isn’t a spot open there for Craig. It might be first base or nothing for him. And between Adams and Craig, who wouldn’t give the majority of at-bats to Craig?
He’s just more advanced and polished at this point.
When Lance Berkman comes back I have no doubt there’ll be some sort of a time share between Craig, Berkman and Beltran. It’ll keep everyone fresh through the season.
But with Berkman a free agent after the season it’s hard to envision him returning given the depth this organization has.
And when he departs, first base should be open for Craig to hold onto for a long time.