Heading into the 2013 fantasy baseball season, Allen Craig ranks 40th overall on some fantasy draft boards, not a bad jump for a player who came in 260th only a year ago.
Called to replace Albert Pujols at first base for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012, Craig put up a .307 average with 22 home runs and 92 RBI, numbers so strong that he left some Cardinals fans wondering to themselves—Albert who?
And that’s not even the best of it.
Those 22 home runs and 92 RBI came in only 119 games last year, making Craig’s 2012 a mere snippet of what the 28-year-old is capable of. Place those stats over a full 162 game season and we could be looking at 30 home runs with around 120 RBI and a .300 average to boot.
Numbers like that would be a solid season for Prince Fielder or Joey Votto, even Pujols as well, yet Craig is going nearly three rounds later than those guys in fantasy drafts this year. He’s not a steal in the fourth for fifth round, but Craig’s average draft position makes him a great value if you pass up on the big names atop the position rankings.
The only reason to hesitate would be the small sample size. At 28, Craig has only played in 238 career games and 2012 was his first attempt at a complete season in the big leagues. For that reason alone he’s not worth reaching for yet, but if he falls to you in your draft and you need a first baseman, don’t pass up on him.
At the very least you’ll have made a solid pick.
2013 Projections: .280 / 27 HR / 95 RBI / 80 RS / 3 SB