Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Babe Ruth of Winston-Salem

Wake Forest did not quite finish last every year that Will Craig was playing baseball for the Demon Deacons, but the team only finished at .500 once during his three years in Winston-Salem.  There place in the standings had nothing to do with Craig's on-field performance as much as it did with the fact that the Deacons are a little short on talent and play in one of the tougher baseball conferences.

He hits, he pitches, he was the greatest Wake Forest baseball player to ever don Deacs uni....

Craig was the ACC Player of the Year in 2015 and was a 1st Team All-American in 2015 and 2016.  While he did not take home any of the big hardware in college baseball, he was certainly deserving of consideration for awards like the Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Trophy.  In the end he did take home the D1Baseball National Player of the Year which is sort of like that time Ernie Banks won the MVP award when the Cubs finished in last place.  

I'm not sure how Will Craig will fair as a Major League player, but the Pirates picked him up towards the end of the 1st Round in last summer's amateur draft.  While he can hit and pitch, the Pirates have made him a full time position player, so for the moment he will have to just be Babe Ruth at the plate...I'm sure he can talk his way into pitching at some point.  

While Craig was one of the better players in the ACC over his three years in college, the Wake Forest star never appeared in any baseball card sets up until last year.  I was a little disappointed that he never appeared on any USA Baseball teams, but now that he's in the Minors it's time to catch up with some of his cards.  

I just picked up my first autograph of the former Wake Forest hitter/pitcher.  

I was happy to see Topps include the Pirates third baseman in their end of year Bowman products.  They even did a pretty good job of airbrushing his Pirates uni over his Wake Forest uni.  Craig had a nice start to his professional career last summer, so he should continue to appear on baseball cards for the foreseeable future.  In just over 200 at-bats in A ball Craig posted a .280/.412/.362 slash line.  The power is a little disappointing, but no complaints about 40 walks in 200 at bats.  

No pitching appearances.  

Will Craig is the stuff of legends in Winston-Salem and many in central North Carolina are eager to see what will become of his professional career.  While he was sort of a modern day Babe Ruth during his college career, many ACC baseball fans would take a nice solid professional career for the greatest college baseball player in the history of Wake Forest.  

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