Former Baylor baseball player Dylan Craig in this file photo.Staff File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Dylan Craig wants someday to be in a lab somewhere, using his degree in chemistry from Belmont University.
But the ex-Baylor baseball player yearns for an opportunity that could come today or Wednesday during the major league draft.
"If it happens, then it happens," Craig said. "If it doesn't, then I'll try to get picked up by a team. I want to give pro ball a shot in some way, shape or form."
The dozens of questionnaires he filled out as a Belmont junior were reduced to one each this year from the Mets and Athletics. Some say that's a good sign, that the clubs have the information they need and have seen what they wanted.
"I've noticed [scouts] at more than one or two games, but I haven't talked with anyone," Craig said. "That's why I'm on pins and needles. I don't know what's going to happen."
The center fielder is even less certain after a near-miss last year when a scout called and told him he was going to be drafted but then he wasn't. The scout later called and said he was sorry but that his club had drafted all the outfielders it was going to take.
His coach at Belmont, Dave Jarvis, told the CityPaper of Nashville that he was surprised to some extent that Craig went undrafted a year ago.
"I wasn't certain that Dylan would be back because of the success he has had and the numbers he's put up," the coach said. "The draft is a very fickle thing. You never know what's going to happen and what isn't going to happen."
The 6-foot, 190-pound Craig hit .285 this season, which was his worst offensive performance in four years as a starter, including 2009 when he was Atlantic Sun freshman of the year. Part of the reason could have been his shuffle in the batting order that included stints in each of the first five spots.
"I don't think it was anywhere close to what I have hit in the past. It was one of those down years," Craig said. "My strikeout numbers were still low. I was hitting the ball but hitting it right at people. It happens."
As a freshmen who started all 57 games, he hit safely in 51 while batting .474 when leading off an inning. He hit .382 as a sophomore with 30 multihit games in 63 and then .411 in 2011 with 23 multihit games and just 20 strikeouts in 254 at-bats. Too, over the past two seasons he committed just one error.
He finished his career as Belmont's all-time hits leader.
Both Jarvis and Gene Etter, his high school coach, remarked about Craig's work ethic.
"I always thought he was a good prospect because he runs so well and he was a good outfielder," Etter said. "He was a good hitter and always worked really hard."
"His work ethic and attitude are so good," Jarvis added. "He is obviously a very talented young man. When you mix the combination of those three things with his God-given abilities, you have that type of result where he's our all-time hits leader."
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...