Craig did not stand out for doing something incredible, but because of his incredible efficiency to get base hits with runners in scoring position. An example of this ability during Tuesday night’s game came in the bottom of the sixth inning when Craig came up with a 2-1 lead, and lined the ball down the left field line to drive in Carlos Beltran.
Craig has been hitting the ball with runners in scoring position like no other player in the bigs this season, becoming one of the best hitters in all of baseball during the process. During the 2013 season, Craig has hit better with runners on base than without, with his .382 average with runners on base being significantly higher than his .262 average with no runners on the basepaths.
What really caps off Craig’s ability to hit, and specifically hit with runners on base is his average with runners in scoring position. During these scenarios, he has posted a league-leading batting average of .452, which ranks third-best in the last 40 years behind only George Brett and Tony Gwynn.
For the entirety of the season, Craig has posted a stat line of .316/.375/.465 with 22 doubles, 13 home runs and 96 RBIs. All of this success at the plate for Craig has came as he has hit in the cleanup spot and led the Cardinals to the second-best record in all of baseball. Despite this success, Craig has often been overlooked by fans as they continue to value players that hit long home runs than the ones who drive in the runs and actually win games.
The time has come for him to receive some recognition for his great ability to hit with runners on the basepaths, and he should be recognized as the clutchest player in MLB.
No player can come close to matching his production at the plate with runners on base and in scoring position. He might not be the classic home run-hitting clutch hitter that strikes fear into his opponents, but Craig is a silent assassin that is actually more consistent than your favorite power hitter with runners on base.