First base is a hit-first position manned by many a marquee slugger. The old-timers call them "run producers" while the new statspeak might dub them "weighted run creators." First basemen are paid--often handsomely--to hit. In 2012, as in every year since 2004, few first basemen hit better than the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman. That first baseman is Allen Craig.
After the Cardinals hoisted the World Series trophy in October 2011, Craig could best be described as Plan C at first base and may have even been Plan D. By June 2012, he was Plan A. After Albert Pujols left via free agency, Lance Berkman got hurt, and Matt Adams underwhelmed at the plate, Craig was called upon to man first for the Redbirds.
Craig's 2012 season got off to a slow start due to injuries. After fracturing his knee cap in Houston during the 2011 season and playing through pain during the Cardinals' magical World Series run, Craig needed surgery to help stabilize his injured knee. The surgery caused Craig to miss all of April. After returning to the active roster, a hamstring injury quickly landed him back on the disabled list for the second half of May. Injuries restricted Craig to just 116 games played.
Once Craig was able to put the disabled list behind him, he was one of the league's best-batting first basemen. To get an idea of just how good Craig was last year, I thought we'd take a look at his offensive production compared to those players who played the majority of their games at first base in 2012 and qualified for the batting title. For additional context, we'll compare Craig's stats to all major-league batters.
This is How Good Allen Craig Was in 2012
Viva El Birdos | Jan 14