I’m sure everyone is just about sick of hearing about all-star talk, but I can’t help but write one more article about a player who could have gotten more recognition. As baseball fans everywhere know very well, first base in the National League became very thin this year with the departures of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Having two highly thought-of players in Ryan Howard and Lance Berkman spend most of the season so far on the disabled list definitely didn’t help matters either. Nevertheless, the first base position in the all star game was wide open.
With the shortage of talent at first base this year, Joey Votto became the obvious choice for the NL starter. After that, there were some very deserving candidates worthy of a reserve spot on the team; Bryan LaHair with his hot start, Adam LaRoche with his successful first half, and Paul Goldschmidt with his late tear. As Cardinal fans may not realize, they have a player putting up all star caliber numbers in the first half, and his name starts with the letter “A.” No, it isn’t Albert. It’s Allen. Craig that is.
Allen Craig has played in only 40 games this season through Monday night and is among the team leaders in home runs and RBI’s. Because of the shortage of games, he is not eligible to be amongst the league leaders in batting average, on-base percentage, or slugging but those numbers are certainly nothing to scoff at. He was carrying a line of .318/.388/.615 going into Monday night’s game. He trails Joey Votto by only one home run, which would actually put him ahead of American League starting first baseman Prince Fielder. He even has a better batting average and OPS than Fielder, who is now in Detroit.
Obviously Allen Craig had no chance of winning the fan vote because he wasn’t on the ballot. As a matter of fact, no one was sure of which position he would be spending most of his time at in 2012. He has had two DL stints so far this season and has seen his fair share of injuries as he continues to battle knee and hamstring problems. The question remains: with a full season played so far, how good would his numbers be? Unfortunately, it is a question we will never find out.
In order for Allen Craig to have made the All Star Game in Kansas City this year, the players would have had to select him or his former manager Tony LaRussa would have had to give him a call. Tony knows that there may have been safer options to go with and the players don’t know enough about Craig yet to choose him. We can consider this season Allen Craig’s coming out party because at the pace he is going, he could potentially end up being in the MVP race by season’s end. I’m not saying he is going to win or even that he should, but if he ends up hitting 30 or more home runs while hitting .320 and driving in 90 or more, he should definitely be considered. Especially since the offense has performed well with him in the lineup.
Other members of the Cardinals could be considered snubs, like Matt Holliday or Kyle Lohse, but with the lack of depth at first base this year, Allen Craig is reminding fans of baseball that he is a force to be reckoned with. Maybe we will see him in the Mid-Summer Classic next season, but until then, we can just sit back and watch Allen continue to develop into the star he is becoming.
Tags: Albert Pujols All-Star Allen Craig American League Bryan LaHair Joey Votto Kyle Lohse Lance Berkman Matt Holliday National League Paul Goldschmidt Prince Fielder Ryan Howard St Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa