2008 Cardinals Prospect #11 – Allen Craig

The third baseman tore up the pitching-oriented Florida State League before getting the call to Double-A. Will his continued strong hitting overshadow a questionable glove?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to 2007 and career stats)

2007 Ranking: not ranked

Position: 3B

DOB: 7/18/1984

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 190

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: California

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the eighth round (256th overall) of the June, 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

2007 stats

Tm

AVG

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

OBP

SLG

OPS

PB

0.312

423

77

132

25

2

21

77

35

79

8

0.370

0.530

0.899

SPR

0.292

24

5

7

2

0

3

3

1

6

0

0.320

0.750

1.070

Tot

0.311

447

82

139

27

2

24

80

36

85

8

0.367

0.541

0.909

Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (13): Craig is another of the seven 2006 draftees that made their Top 40 debut this season. He spent most of the season at High-A Palm Beach, including a two and one-half week stint on the disabled list in July with back issues. The Cardinals were reportedly planning to promote Craig to Double-A Springfield at the time he went on the disabled list. He was finally promoted at the end of August.

Craig has a short, compact swing with good pop to his bat. Defensively, questions remain on whether he can stick at third base or not. If he proves he can handle the hot corner, then his prospect status soars. If not, it dives.

Dustin Mattison (10): The 23-year-old produced one of the best offensive seasons in the Cardinals' minor league system in 2007. Starting the year at Palm Beach, Craig led his team in the Triple Crown categories. The University of California product hit .312 with 21 home runs and 77 runs batted in. Not only did he rank so highly on his own team but Craig ranked among the leaders in the Florida State League as well. Craig was recognized for his efforts with a FSL Player of the Week honor, a Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star selection, selection as the FSL All-Star Game Top Star, and being named a Baseball America High Class A All-Star.

Craig was rewarded with a promotion to Double-A to help Springfield with its playoff run. In 24 at bats down the stretch, five of Craig's seven hits went for extra bases helping Springfield clinch the Texas League's second half division title. The former ninth round pick put up an impressive isolated power number of .230 in his first full season. No one questions Craig's ability to hit, but the jury is out on his permanent position.

Ray Mileur (9): Scott Rolen will probably still be at third base for St. Louis in 2008, but the emergence of Craig could make it much easier for the Cardinals to trade Rolen at some point in the future. Craig hit a very impressive, .312/.370/.530 with 21 home runs and 77 RBI while scoring 77 more runs in 112 games for Palm Beach.

Craig played his last seven games of the season at Springfield, where he continued to hit, hitting .290 (7-for-24) with three home runs, two doubles, three RBI and scored five times. The MVP in the Florida League All-Star Game, Craig, an eighth-round draft pick, came out of nowhere in 2007 and established himself as one of the top position players in the Cardinals pipeline. I had him at #9, moving up.

Brian Walton (18): There can be no disputing that Craig put together a very nice offensive season in 2007. On the other side of the coin, he is slow and lacks defensive value, whether he remains at third or ultimately has to be moved to the outfield, which may be the more likely scenario. That means his bat is going to continue to have to be very strong to compensate.

Errors charged are certainly not the be-all, end-all, but they do help illustrate why Craig's defense concerns me. He was charged with 22 errors this past season, including five in just seven games after being called up to Springfield. Sure, some of the latter could be labeled as adjustment to Double-A, but realize that his miscue total was second-highest in the entire Cardinals system - not just among third basemen, but for all players regardless of position. Without a more consistently-balanced game, I cannot rank Craig any higher at this time.

Key: NR = not ranked, NA = not applicable

To see our entire list of 40 prospects as they are unveiled daily, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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