- Full name Allen Thomas Craig
- Born 07/18/1984 in Mission Viejo, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School California
- Debut 04/08/2010
Drafted in the 8th round (256th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 (signed for $15,000).
View Draft ReportA member of the US junior national team, Craig has had an injury-riddled career at California. He's an offensive player without a defined position.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Craig put himself in the Cardinals' plans with a breakout 2009 season in which he hit .322/.374/.547 at Triple-A Memphis. He made the Opening Day roster last April as a reserve, but he found it difficult to adjust to scattered playing time. Shipped back to Memphis after going 1-for-19, he found his swing and drove in 81 runs in 83 games before carrying that success to St. Louis at the end of the season. A seasoned hitter, Craig has improved his feel for the strike zone and his ability to turn on pitches. He has power to all fields and is learning the areas of the zone where he can drive pitches. When he gets regular playing time, he has shown a knack for making in-game adjustments. Craig continues to work out at third base, but he lacks range and arm strength, and the major league staff sees him as an outfielder. He has playable range on the corners and a decent arm for left field. He's a below-average runner. The Cardinals are on the lookout for a run-producing hitter like Craig. He may begin the 2011 season in a right-field platoon with Jon Jay.
A defensive hot potato since his days in college, Craig played shortstop, left field and first base for California and has seen time at all four infield positions and both outfield corners as a pro. In big league camp last spring, he hit well in exhibition games but didn't get a single inning at third base despite the position being wide open. He ranked third in the Pacific Coast League in homers (26) and fourth in hitting (.322) last season and was added to the 40-man roster. Craig has a level swing with good torque and bat speed. He generates the best and most consistent power, and he has hit at least .304 with at least 22 homers in each of his three full seasons. Scouts say his bat is major league ready. The Cardinals aren't sure where to play Craig and don't consider him an option to fill their hole at third base. His lack of range and arm strength, plus a quirky throwing motion, work against him at the hot corner. First base isn't an option with Albert Pujols in St. Louis, so Craig played mostly left field in 2009. His below-average speed and arm make him an adequate defender at best, but he works hard and his bat does profile for the position. Craig's hitting has forced the Cardinals to consider him for at least a big league bench role, even if they haven't figured out his position. He's also an option in case they don't re-sign Matt Holliday and don't find a more established left fielder.
Craig spent his career at California as a nomadic glove, bouncing from shortstop to left field to first base to third base and back around the horn again. His bat was always the constant, the reason to find him a spot--any spot--in the lineup. It's likely back on positional merry-go-round for Craig as the Cardinals find a spot for the player who was the top slugger on their Double-A team last year. He spent most of the season playing third, though when he missed time with a minor injury he returned to find a new reality: 2008 first-rounder Brett Wallace was at third. Craig is clearly pinched between an on-the-cusp David Freese and the fast-rising Wallace at the hot corner, so his versatility will be helpful. He saw time in the outfield last year and could try first base to get a spot in Triple-A. He has limited range at third and a quirky throwing motion that some thought would prohibit him from advancing at the position anyway. His bat should keep him moving. Craig has great bat speed and can drive the ball to all fields. He's coming off back-to-back, 20-plus home run seasons, so the Cardinals will find a way to get him into the middle of the Memphis lineup.
Craig was the shortstop on Baseball America's Summer All-America Team in 2005, though he never really had a permanent position at California. He played shortstop, left field, first base and third base at various times, but his bat was a constant. He continued that production in his first full pro season in 2007, finishing among the Florida State League leaders in several offensive categories and winning the MVP award at the circuit's all-star game. He also may have found a defensive home at third base. Craig generates great speed and leverage with his swing and has pop to all fields. His power numbers were deflated by the big ballparks in the FSL, but he continued to make consistent contact without reducing his aggressive approach at the plate. He's a below-average runner. After his promotion to Double-A, Craig became Springfield's third baseman for the Texas League playoffs. His range is limited, his arm is no better than average and he doesn't look smooth when throwing, but he makes plays and the Cardinals think he can stay at the hot corner. Craig's bat puts him atop the system's depth chart at third. He'll return to Double-A to start the season.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010