With the 2007 amateur draft complete and most players assigned to their minor league teams in the Orioles' system, Wally Crancer often gets lost in talk of Georgia Tech players taken by the Orioles. Selected eleven rounds later than Matt Wieters, Wally will never forget the draft experience.
"I was actually sitting with [Matt Wieters], so it was pretty cool, and we were hanging out," Crancer told Inside The Warehouse. "That was pretty cool to be drafted by the same team as one of my good friends."
Crancer, though, is one of the players who has already been assigned to a minor league affiliate and is starting to make a name for himself. Crancer came into Aberdeen coming off of a tremendous senior year at Georgia Tech. He ranked among the top offensive performers in the very competitive Atlantic Coast Conference.
The level of competition in the ACC may be high, but Crancer knows there are big differences between hitting in college baseball and Aberdeen.
"It's kind of like going out and seeing the Friday night starter every night," Crancer said. "So, you're going to see good pitching every night."
Despite the step up in competition, Crancer has adjusted well. Oddly enough, the left-handed hitting outfielder is currently batting .353 vs. LHP's.
"I don't like to really like to think about it too much, because that's when you start struggling. When you think it's a lefty-lefty match-up, you're going to have trouble."
"You just have to stick to your approach and trust yourself and you shouldn't have too many problems," Crancer added. "I know it should be tougher, but if you bear down, you have a chance, still."
Crancer has compiled a solid .279/.345/.452 batting line overall, with a team-high five home runs and 18 RBI. Though his numbers are well above league-average, Crancer feels they don't tell the real story of his season so far.
"I'll have a good game, then a bad game, but I just need to be more consistent."
Crancer utilizes a completely open stance, spread across almost the entire left-handed box.
"I kind of started it a couple years ago," Wally stated. "So, I see the ball a lot better now, especially off of left-handed pitching, so it helps me out that way.
Although Crancer's offense may not be up to his high standards, his defense has been there all season.
"I'm playing good defense right now, and hopefully that will keep me in the lineup," a modest Crancer mentioned.
Even his manager Andy "Etch" Etchebarren has been pleased with Crancer's play so far.
Etch told ITW that "[Wally Crancer] is a very good right-fielder. [He] has a very good arm, well above-average arm."
Etch's impression seems to match the statistics. Crancer has just one error in 89 games played so far this year, across play at Georgia Tech and Aberdeen.
Crancer knows that if he keeps his defense up and starts to bat the way he knows he can, consistently, he has what it takes move on up through the system.
"Just be more consistent at the plate, and just put good AB after good AB, and hopefully that should get my numbers up and carry over to the next level and have some success there too."
Even if he has been a little inconsistent at the plate so far, Etch could not have expressed the sentiment from the fans and coaching staff any better:
"Ya gotta like what you see so far."
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