OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 30: Allen Craig #21 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a home run in the first inning of their game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on June 30, 2013 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) By Ezra Shaw
ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 21: Allen Craig #21 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI double against the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Busch Stadium on June 21, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) By Dilip Vishwanat
(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 and has been hitting over .320 since May 4. Ironically, Craig didn't hit his first home run of the season until May 4. He's also reached double digits in homers (10), adn has driven in runs in the first half.
Craig's offensive talent has been highly regarded since getting selected in the 8th round out Cal-Berkeley 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, the 28-year-old slugger is showing why he's one of the best, and most underrated hitter in the major leagues.