Craig Wilson

One of those guys we’ve always wanted the Braves to get — and now they got him! Pretty cheap, too. Wilson was drafted by the Blue Jays, traded to Pittsburgh after a year and a half. The Pirates spent several years trying to move him and probably asking for an insane amount of talent; they wound up sending him to the Yankees at midseason last year, in exchange for Shawn Chacon. Your Pittsburgh Pirates, everyone!

Wilson used to be a catcher, but the Pirates had Jason Kendall and didn’t like Wilson’s defense anyway, and made him a first baseman/outfielder. They didn’t like his defense in those positions either, so they kept jerking him around, playing guys like Randall Simon instead. Remember, these are the Pirates. I wouldn’t be surprised at this stage if Wilson was actually the second coming of Johnny Bench but they moved him because they didn’t like his catching stance. Anyway, Wilson has never played more than 89 games at one position during his major league career, mostly splitting time between right and first. His defense in right has gotten poor reviews, but his range factors are solid.

As a hitter, Wilson’s career line is .265/.354/.480. This is deceptive. He is in fact a righthanded platoon player who has not been platooned. In his career, he has hit .296/.395/.543 against lefthanders, but only .253/.338/.455 against righthanders. Nevertheless, more than seventy percent of his career PA have come against righties; he’s so good against lefties that it’s not realized that he’s pretty ineffective used this way. The Braves apparently intend for him to play some first base and some right left field, hopefully starting all the time against lefties and getting spotted the rest of the time.

Runs better than you’d think, though not that often. Still, his 14 of 21 career basestealing is better than most of this team’s record. We have a real case of the slows, have you noticed?

Craig Wilson Statistics –

88 thoughts on “Craig Wilson”

  1. Well let’s hope the Braves don’t make the same mistakes with him…the Yankees traded away Chaka Khan for him, i bet the city of NY will never forgive GS for that one!

  2. Also has 12 HR in 117 pinch hitting appearances, and as I mentioned in an earlier thread, is 98th all-time in HBPs. Has also occasionally rocked a mullet.

    Love those platoon splits, because my initial impression of the overall picture is that we signed him two years too late. But if we play to his strengths, he’ll probably help.

  3. He is a good pick up!

    I am sorry, but I am wating on Simmons to post his thoughts on the Manning come back. I am sure he will dodge the whole thing and write about the NBA. Ofcourse, if the Pats had won we would have to read more about how Tom Brady and Jesus are golfing buddies.

  4. The general slowness is one of the reasons I’m glad we got Lillibridge. He might be up a little late, but the kid can run!

  5. I expect Simmons to give Manning, Dungy, and the Colts no credit, instead talking about how the Patriots gave the game away by abandoning the run in the second half and by prominently involving Reche Caldwell. That’s basically what he did earlier this season.

    When the Colts were down 21-3, while Mac was calling Peyton a loser, I was simply vowing to never read another Simmons article. I also text-messaged a friend who lives in Miami, notifying him that I expected him to slit Simmons’ throat in a dark alley somewhere when he’s down for the Super Bowl in 2 weeks.

    Anyway, long story short, I’m looking forward to the Simmons article, too, Smitty.

  6. Do you mean left field Mac? I don’t think anyone other than Francoeur will be right.

    Is anyone going to this Braves winter fanfest thing?

    The date: Saturday, February 3rd

    The time: 10am to 5pm

    The place: Turner Field

    The activities:

    Atlanta Braves players, coaches, broadcasters, and alumni autograph sessions.
    Entertainment including the Tomahawk Team, Heavy Hitters drum line, face painters, and more in Fan Plaza.
    Big League Bullpen – Fans 14 and under can throw off the rubber in the Braves bullpen.
    Run the bases and shag fly balls in the outfield.
    Braves Clubhouse Tours- See where your favorite Braves hang their cleats.
    Play the interactive baseball skills games in Scout’s Alley.
    Learn more about the Braves farm system at the Braves Affiliates Village in Scout’s Alley.
    At Tooner Field young Braves fans can lose themselves in Ed, Edd N’ Eddy’s Maze; Climb high in the Codename: Kids Next Door Treehouse; sing along with Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi; and explore Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.

  7. Mac meant that Wilson has split most of his playing time thus far in his career between right and first. I don’t think anyone expects to see him in right for any significant amount of innings this year.

  8. Dan is right; I meant to say that the Braves intend for him to play some first base and some left field. I will fix it. Having him play right would not be such a bad idea but won’t happen.

  9. Somehow I read that line and didn’t even pick that up.

    I don’t see any reason for the Braves to play Wilson over Francouer in right field though, as much as I love to bag on Francoeur. Francouer had a big platoon split last year too, so there wouldn’t be much to gain. And unlike Wilson, Francouer should improve and his development is important to the Braves’ future.

  10. I was surprised Olney left frenchy off of his top ten young players to watch in 2007 list. This seems to be shaping up as a big year in his development. LaRoche’s departure will put an increased emphasis on Francouer’s production.

  11. team speed- Wilson is faster than LaRouche and McCann should be quicker now with healthy ankle. Kelly Johnson is not slow. Don’t steal bases and wait for big inning.

  12. For any Birmingham guys, did anyone get to go see James, JS, or Cormier. They were signing autographs at the Hoover, Academy Sports location. I didnt get to go

  13. I think the Wilson signing is a good one, but I’m hoping he sees more time in left field than at 1b. I hope Thormand gets the chance to play everyday, and not just against Righthanders. I think it will severely hunder Thors development if platooned always. Maybe he could sit against a particularly nasty lefty. Adam didn’t break out til given the chance to play against lefties. The confidense factor of playing everyday is often overlooked as well. I read that Thors minor league numbers vs lefties was .293. Same as Wilson’s numbers. I like the insurance and beach strength the acquisition gives us, but hope Thor doesn’t get labeled a platoon player. Most don’t escape that.

  14. AJC article indicates Braves are indeed planning on Thor as primary 1B. Of course a lot could change in Spring Training. Saw that after my post. Makes me feel better, lol

  15. Anyone see on CNN the rumor that the Raiders are offering Rany Moss, Jerry Porter, the #1 draft pick for Vick and the Falcons first round pick? Falcons should jump at that in a heartbeat, but since its such a lopsided trade I’m sure its bogus.

  16. False. The Falcons should refuse to take Jerry Porter. And the Falcons should absolutely NOT give up their #10 pick.

    Rick McKay should propose Moss and the #1 for Vick and the Falcons’ #2 and #5, or something like that.

  17. As I said in an earlier Wilson thread, I hope he doesn’t take ABs from Diaz. Diaz is a masher, and should have gotten more than 300 abs last year. But Bobby hates his defense, I suppose.

    Although I presume we would see both in the lineup against lefties if BC plays it by the Book.

  18. This comes courtesy of Bryan Smith over at, it’s his list of top prospects of 2007…

    (honorable Mention)Eric Campbell, 3B/2B, Braves
    2006 Stats (A-): .296/.335/.517, 18 SB in 449 AB

    I recently outlined my version of minor league baseball’s eight most undervalued prospects, and on the list, Campbell is the best offensive prospect. He is one of a few minor league hitters to already have plus contact and plus power, but Campbell’s poor defensive skills have hurt his prospect status. If his new home at second base is a fit, Campbell would be the best at the position in the minor leagues.

    53. Elvis Andrus, 18, SS, Atlanta Braves
    2006 Stats (A-): .265/.324/.362, 23 SB in 437 AB

    No prospect has been as difficult to place throughout his career as Andrus, who debuted in 2005 as a 16-year-old shortstop. Thrown into the full-season fire just a year later, Andrus held his own in a better-than-average South Atlantic League. Andrus is fantastically raw, with enough speed to steal more bases, enough hand-eye coordination to make better contact and enough bat speed to have more power. However, discerning the real from the imaginable from a teenager is a difficult art, so for now we can watch how Andrus handles the difficult test of pitching-friendly Myrtle Beach.

    40. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 22, C, Atlanta Braves
    2006 Stats (AA): .230/.353/.380, 0 SB in 313 AB

    With the exception of the player one spot above him on this list, Salty is about as hard to place as a prospect gets. After Salty’s monster season in pitcher-friendly Myrtle Beach in 2005, the general thinking was that he and Brian McCann would both have big seasons in ’06, leaving Atlanta with a tough decision to make in 2007. So much for that. While McCann had a season that rivaled that of any other catcher in the majors, Salty entered July with a batting average below the Mendoza Line. Salty did improve defensively last year, and for most of the season did show scouts a good offensive approach. In his last 29 games (including the AFL), he hit .400, slugged .747, and had a 26-15 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

    (He’s going to release his top 15 tomorrow)

  19. Dix,

    You heard right…

    “The Raiders are preparing to make a run at Michael Vick, according to NFL sources. The Raiders package would include receivers Randy Moss and Jerry Porter plus the No.1 overall pick in the 2007 draft for Vick and the Falcons first round pick (10th overall).

  20. #27 Jay…..we talked earlier about how slow our team is right now, but it looks as if our 08 or 09 roster should have plenty of speed….

    Lillibridge, Campbell, Johnson, Andrus, Escobar, I dont really know who our outfield prospects are at this point. That group however, looks as if should have plenty of speed in the lineup

  21. Geez, that’s a lot of talent coming over to the Falcons for good ol’ Ron Mexico. Rich could work something out here since Matt Schaub could step in….the problem then lies if Matt isn’t ready and Atlanta would need to acquire a back-up…..tough decision.

  22. Csg,

    Yeah, I agree…

    I might consider Gregor Blanco and Brandon Jones as our outfield prospects. Neither which are high up there. Oh and of course Cody Johnson but he’s way off…3 to 4 years at best.

  23. What would be the point of that trade for the Falcons? I just don’t see it. Why would you give up the #10 for the #1? The Falcons need a DT or a S, and #10 is a good spot to be in for that. By swapping that for the #1, they’re probably going to have too high a pick to use on either of their big needs. (OT Joe Thomas would be ok there, but under Alex Gibbs’ system, they don’t really need big, powerful tackles.)

    So, what, they’ll take Calvin Johnson? That seems like a waste, if they’re getting Moss and Porter — and they already have Jenkins and White, who, I’m convinced, will be much better if someone other than Michael Vick is leading the offense.

    Like I said, I’d love to have Moss and the #1, but there’s no way I’d take Crazy Jerry Porter and there’s no way I’d give up the #10 pick.

  24. Wow, if I were the Falcons I would jum p at that offer. They could take Peterson, Quinn, or trade the pick for some defensive help.

  25. I would take Russell over Quinn, where is the love for this guy coming from. He hasnt won the big game yet and gets shelled by pretty much every above avg. team that they play. What have I missed?

  26. Yeah, go for Peterson or trade it for defense. The Falcons already said Warrick Dunn’s load is going to be significantly lower this year due to Jerious Norwood’s rookie year, but they still need a “Power” back like what they had with Duckett. So if they are going to use the #1 pick it should be Peterson if not just trade it. (Maybe to the Patriots, they could trade one of their 1st round picks and Eugene Wilson to the Falcons for the #1 pick, which they would use to get Calvin Johnson…kidding, that probably wouldn’t work although they could use their second 1st round pick on a safety.)

  27. I would trade Norwood if i got Peterson. Peterson is going to be the man, and Dunn could back him up.

  28. Brady Quinn gets the love from NFL scouts & coaches for his talent & smarts. They see him as the next Tom Brady.

    If you start drafting players only because they won big games in college, that puts Chris Leak ahead of Peyton Manning. It elevates Jay Barker over Tom Brady.

    If they go to the right situations (i.e.—not the dire reality that is Oakland), I’m sure both Quinn & JaMarcus will do fine in the NFL.

    And I’m a bit of a Falcon fan—I don’t wanna have to root for Randy Moss.

  29. I’m also convinced that Jenkins and White can be much better players with a different QB. I think you could much more easily improve the offense by keeping the receivers and switching quarterbacks, rather than vice versa.

    Vick is top 5 in the league, athletically, but just not a good quarterback. I do think that Petrino would like a chance to see what he can do with Michael Vick. I doubt he considers, as he said, Atlanta the “NFL’s best job” without Vick running the offense. But at some point, you have to simply get better, and he hasn’t done that at all.

    I like the idea of keeping our #10, their #1 overall and giving up two later picks, with Vick and Moss mixed in there.

  30. No, Quinn gets the hype because he is good. NFL scouts are not drooling because of Charlie Weis. Can you at least admit that Notre Dame has had some decent players over the years, including some guy named after a western state?

  31. csg,

    Sometimes hype is right. Sometimes hype can backfire. But I’m talking about NFL scouts that I’ve heard talk about Quinn. They don’t care about hype. They don’t care about how many yards he racked up against Navy. And they don’t care how many of those highlights were on ESPN. They like his talent & makeup.

    There are reasons why New England has been successful—one of them is rooted in their player evals. Intelligence that matches the physical attributes is one of the main points they look for in a player. When they got Tom Brady, it wasn’t an accident.

    You can hate on Notre Dame all you like, but they’ve turned out some great NFL players over the years—from Alan Page to Joe Montana to Jerome Bettis.

  32. I never said I didnt think he was good, I just dont think he’s deserving of the #1 Overall pick. He’s good there is no question about that and I dont hate Notre Dame. I just dont see how people can say that in 2 or 3 years he’ll be a NFL top 3 QB. Thats saying too much in my opinion. If I’m wrong I’ll give credit where its due

  33. If the trade doesn’t happen this is the way I see the top 10 going…

    1. OAK- JaMarcus Russell
    2. DET- Brady Quinn
    3. CLE- Alan Branch/Adrian Peterson
    4. TB- Calvin Johnson
    5. ARI- Joe Thomas
    6. WAS- Gaines Adams/Alan Branch
    7. MIN- Gaines Adams/Alan Branch/Jamaal Anderson
    8. HOU- Adrian Peterson/They would like to have Joe Thomas
    9. MIA- Amobi Okoye/ Darrell Revis
    10. ATL- Reggie Nelson/LaRon Landry

    *subject to coin flip

    (Just my opinion, of course)

  34. Brady Quinn is a good quarterback but I bet he hopes he’s not the #1 pick. He is better suited for Mike Martz system, plus he’ll actually have WR’s to throw to and a running back who i’m quite fond of(wink wink, I believe he’s from a certain college) ;)


    GM Rankings per FoxSports:

    1. John Schuerholz, Braves
    On the job since … October 1990
    Playoff appearances: 14

    The peerless GM running the peerless organization, so there’s really no argument here. Schuerholz has, of course, won consistently and convincingly, and he’s also managed to maintain a generally strong farm system over the years.

  36. I really think someone might shoot Saban if he pulled that one. He had the best NFL job for his controlling personality. I dont see him wanting the NFL anymore.

    Mike Shula to Dallas!

  37. I really think someone might shoot Saban if he pulled that one. He had the best NFL job for his controlling personality. I dont see him wanting the NFL anymore.

    Mike Shula to Dallas!

  38. @53

    I meant Buccaneers! I hate silver on black! I’d have to get the black on white jersey if Johnson was drafted first.

  39. is Jurries still with the Braves? Do i remember that he was hurt part of last seaso or did he just collapse?

  40. He might have been hurt, I’m not sure, but he did collapse, to the tune of a .621 OPS. He really never was a good prospect, and post-PED, he’s probably even less. He is not on the 40-man roster, and probably never will be. (Although Jonathan Johnson reminded me to say, “Never say never.”) I give a 90% chance that he never appears in Atlanta.

  41. Yeah, Jurries is still around, he just didn’t do much:

    .205/.295/.326, 8 HR, 27 RBI at Richmond in 2006 thanks to injuries.

  42. I don’t want Peterson for the Falcons. We’ve got our future feature (5 times fast) tailback in Norwood, and Peterson will be getting feature-back money. Plus, he’s already been hurt twice.

    I’m not a draftnik, but I’ve come to believe that you can’t go wrong drafting the best offensive lineman available. Either that or a linebacker. I’ve come to this conclusion mostly because the Falcons almost never do either.

  43. Linebackers never go that high, which is why they aren’t seen as busts. I don’t recall a linebacker in the top five since Derrick Thomas, though I’m sure there have been. The Falcons need defense and lots of it.

    Jurries will have, I believe, two sentences in tomorrow’s Other Infield Possibilities post.

  44. A.J. Hawk went fifth last year.

    The Falcons should definitely avoid drafting Peterson, the team has much more glaring needs at DB that Reggie Nelson or LaRon Landry can fill.

  45. A.J Hawk went 5th to the Pack last year…

    Lavar Arrington went # 2 back in 2000. That’s when the Redskins had the 2nd and 3rd overall pick.

    Peter Boulware went # 4 to Baltimore in 1996

    There might be some more, but I can’t remember right now

  46. Kevin Hardy went # 2 to Jacksonville in ’96 I believe…

    McGinnest went # 4 to New England and I believe that Junior Seau was also top 5.

  47. Andre Carter went 7th on 2001, and the year Arrington went #1 the Bears got Urlacher at #9. Chris Claiborne went 9th in 1999. Boulware was mentioned in 1997 already and the same year James Farrior went #9 to the Jets. Kevin Hardy out of Illionois went #2 in 1996. Willie McGinest was an OLB out of USC when he got drafted #4 in 1994. Junior Seau was a #5 pick. I’m gonna stop now, tired of looking this up.

  48. Get Branch or Dorsey (I’d prefer Dorsey, but I know the scouts seem to be higher on Branch) with the #1 and then get Nelson or Landry with the #10. And be rid of Michael Vick…

    I can dream.

  49. Nelson/Landry would also look mighty fine in Miami.

    I don’t know when it was the last time a team took safeties in the first round back to back years, but in this case, I wouldn’t mind.

    But the D-Line has priority I suppose….

  50. Stu,

    Are you referring to Glenn Dorsey of LSU? Cause he’s staying for his senior year. I guess you have to put that dream off for another year.

  51. I know I don’t know much about NFL scouting, but I still don’t understand why JaMarcus Russell projects so high. I’ve probably seen him play as much as any qb besides Bama’s, and I’m just not that impressed. I agree that he has remarkable talent and is built like a tank, but his decision making (especially under pressure) has been questionable and his overall play has been very inconsistent IMO. I thought Auburn had him completely rattled earlier in the year and he missed a lot of open receivers. I know Brady Quinn got knocked around a/g LSU, but I would take him in a heartbeat over Russell.

  52. I’m under the impression that Russell is projected as high as he is only because he kicked Notre Dame’s butt single-handedly in the bowl. So people think Oakland and Detroit need quarterbacks. They probably do.

  53. Sam,

    I definitely think they both do…Andrew Walter was horrible this year( I know his O-Line couldn’t block, but still) and although Aaron Brooks was better(not by much) he still was unable to get his “offense” going. And for Detroit, well yes Jon Kitna did have a decent season, throwing for over 4,200 yards and 21 touchdowns but he did throw 22 ints and will be turning 35 entering next season.So he is in no way their long term QB.

    I actually wrote about the Lions and the Raiders on my blog if anyone cares to read.

  54. The biggest problem the Falcons have had in the Blank era has not been Vick — it’s been their reliance on obtaining “name” defenders, each of whom have been supposed to represent the last piece of the puzzle, but who arrive either old or hurt or both. Looking at their roster, how many Falcon defenders can you be sure will still be worth having in 2008, even? Hall and Boley, that’s my list. One or two of the young DLineman will probably pan out, and Jimmy Williams might be good.

  55. #83 agree, only 12 offensive TD’s all year. Tomlinson had 28 rushing, 3 catching, and 4 passing by himself I believe. I guess thats what happens when you think Aaron Brooks is the answer!

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