National Player of the Year Will Craig of Wake Forest headlines D1Baseball's 2016 All-America teams.


Will Craig Leads 2016 All-America Teams


National Player of the Year Will Craig, a two-way star for Wake Forest, headlines the 2016 D1Baseball All-America teams, released Thursday.

The 22nd overall pick by the Pirates in last week’s draft, Craig stands out most for his prodigious offensive production in the nation’s No. 1 RPI conference. He hit .379/.520/.731 for a 1.251 on-base-plus-slugging mark that ranks second in the nation, only trailing Mercer’s Kyle Lewis (1.266), another first-rounder. And Craig did it against better competition, while also serving as Wake Forest’s most trusted reliever.

Power is Craig’s calling card — both at the plate (where he slugged 16 homers and 16 doubles) and off the mound (where his fastball sits at 91-94 and touches 95, and his hard curveball is an out pitch). In 28 innings of work over 19 relief appearances, Craig went 2-0, 3.54 with nine saves.

Wake Forest star Will Craig (Aaron Fitt)Wake Forest star Will Craig (Aaron Fitt)

Craig also played solid defense at third base and demonstrated a very advanced approach at the plate to go along with his power. And he played a huge role in leading Wake Forest to its first regional since 2007. Perhaps his value is best illustrated by what happened when he missed a few games to injury midway through the year.

“I guess all you have to say is in the four games he wasn’t available to hit, we went 0-4 in the league, and the one game he wasn’t available to pitch against Notre Dame, we lost the lead late,” Wake Forest coach Tom Walter said during the ACC tournament.

He will be successful at the next level,” Walter said the day before. “Will’s got one of those swings where he hits the ball to all fields. He’s got unbelievable strike zone awareness and discipline and he hits the fastball and the breaking ball, so he hits all sorts of pitches. Will has handled upper-tier pitching. He’ll handle velocity. He’ll handle soft. He’s just a complete hitter. He’s a guy that’s very dangerous in all situations because his batting average, believe it or not, is better with two strikes than it is with less than two strikes. He’s a guy that’s not afraid to go deep in the count and not afraid to battle you, and can take you out of the ballpark to all fields, so he’s a special hitter. I’m just glad he’s on our team.”

Craig is one of five players to earn first-team All-America honors in both the preseason and postseason, joining Louisville’s Brendan McKay and Corey Ray, Miami’s Zack Collins and Mercer’s Lewis. Louisville leads all teams with three players on the first team and five All-Americans overall, followed by Florida (two first-teamers and three total). Clemson, Texas A&M, Virginia and UNC Wilmington also produced two All-Americans apiece.

McKay is the only repeat member of the first team; he has now earned first-team All-America honors in each of his first two collegiate seasons. The only other member of the 2015 All-America teams to repeat as an All-American in 2016 is McKay’s teammate Ray, who jumped from the third team last year to the first team this year.

Clemson outfielder Seth Beer, who actually beat out Craig for ACC player of the year honors, is the only freshman to earn first-team honors. TCU’s Luken Baker is the only other freshman to make any of the teams.

First Team

CZack Collins, MiamiJr..357/.538/.649185536615671
1BPeter Alonso, FloridaJr..373/.468/.652204507613582
2BJake Noll, Florida Gulf CoastJr..367/.427/.620237588712619
3BWill Craig, Wake ForestJr..379/.520/.731182536916660
SSSheldon Neuse, OklahomaJr..369/.465/.6461984273104812
OFSeth Beer, ClemsonFr..369/.535/.700203577518701
OFKyle Lewis, MercerJr..395/.535/.731223708820726
OFCorey Ray, LouisvilleJr..310/.388/.5452685583156044
DHJameson Fisher, SE LouisianaJr..424/.558/.6921984984116615
UTBrendan McKay, LouisvilleSo..333/.414/.51322843766410
SPThomas Hatch, Oklahoma StateSo.822.04170119.19830105
SPEric Lauer, Kent StateJr.1020.691501044928125
SPA.J. Puckett, PepperdineJr.931.2714099.1652695
SPLogan Shore, FloridaJr.1202.24170100.1771789
RPTroy Rallings, WashingtonSr.410.89281661321260
UTBrendan McKay, LouisvilleSo.1242.3170109.28942128

Second Team

CMatt Thaiss, VirginiaJr..375/.473/.578232558710590
1BEric Gutierrez, Texas TechSr..326/.458/.571224537312583
2BNick Solak, LouisvilleJr..376/.470/.56416549625299
3BBoomer White, Texas A&MJr..386/.462/.5172594910054610
SSC.J. Chatham, Florida AtlanticJr..357/.422/.55424948898502
OFRonnie Dawson, Ohio StateJr..331/.419/.6112575585135121
OFConnor Owings, Coastal CarolinaSr..379/.485/.6922246085165314
OFHeath Quinn, SamfordJr..343/.452/.682242628321774
DHNick Feight, UNC WilmingtonSo..349/.410/.726241608421911
UTLuken Baker, TCUFr..379/.488/.56023256889571
SPAaron Civale, NortheasternSo.931.73150114.19115121
SPDrew Harrington, LouisvilleJr.1221.95170110.2922592
SPConnor Jones, VirginiaJr.1112.34150103.2853872
SPCody Sedlock, IllinoisJr.532.49140101.18031116
RPMark Ecker, Texas A&MJr.420.3925846.224756
UTLuken Baker, TCUFr.311.710047.2371641

Third Team

CChris Okey, ClemsonJr..339/.465/.611239618115744
1BTim Lynch, Southern MissSr..365/.470/.545233498510590
2BBrian Mims, UNC WilmingtonSo..371/.443/.614259719614644
3BNick Senzel, TennesseeJr..352/.456/.595210577485925
SSTaylor Walls, Florida StateSo..355/.479/.516248728864614
OFAnfernee Grier, AuburnJr..366/.457/.5762385687124119
OFBryan Reynolds, VanderbiltJr..330/.461/.603224597413578
OFRyan Scott, Arkansas-Little RockSr..435/.516/.713216569412667
DHJake Burger, Missouri StateSo..349/.420/.689235598221723
UTDarick Hall, Dallas BaptistJr..302/.418/.630235467120721
SPKeegan Akin, Western MichiganJr.741.821701097230133
SPCorbin Burnes, St. Mary’sJr.922.48160101.27633120
SPDakota Hudson, Mississippi StateJr.952.5517011310635115
SPEvan Kruczynski, East CarolinaJr.812.01170116.2107279
RPShaun Anderson, FloridaJr.30135134530758
UTDarick Hall, Dallas BaptistJr.933.43160971022194

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