Craig M. Watts
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 220 lb.
First baseman Craig Watts was a top slugger in Australia. He played two seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
In the 1991-1992 Australian Baseball League, Watts was 1 for 10 with a walk for the Adelaide Giants. In 1992, he hit .321/.388/.455 in 34 games for the Great Falls Dodgers and .163/.280/.326 in 14 games for the GCL Dodgers. He led Great Falls in average. He batted .242/.297/.313 for Adelaide in 1992-1993. In 1993, he played for Great Falls (.325/.380/.554 in 26 G) and the Bakersfield Dodgers (.144/.190/.169 in 34 G, backing up Jay Kirkpatrick) to end his minor league career. In 108 minor league games, he had hit .244/.310/.368 with 9 home runs and 94 strikeouts in 356 AB. He had fielded .979 at 1B.
Watts began to show progress in 1993-1994 when the youngster batted .268/.305/.625 with 11 home runs in only 112 at-bats for Adelaide, just four homers behind team leader Kirkpatrick. He hit .278/.352/.474 with four home runs in 1994-1995 but then improved to .327/.370/.684 with 17 dingers and 49 RBI in 45 games in 1995-1996. He tied Gary White for the ABL lead in both home runs and RBI, tied for second in extra-base hits (27, trailing only White), was third in slugging (behind Adam Burton and White) and was 5th in hits (56). He was named the All-Star 1B.
In 1996-1997, the Western Australia native produced at a .297/.335/.545 clip with 17 doubles, 11 home runs and 46 RBI in 59 contests. He led in doubles, was third in extra-base hits (trailing Brendan Kingman and Ronny Johnson) and 5th in RBI (after Johnson, Kingman, Paul Gonzalez and Clayton Byrne). Craig put on a heck of a show in a 11-1 romp of the champion Perth Heat, hitting grand slams in consecutive at-bats to set an ABL record with 8 RBI in a contest.
During the winter of 1997-1998, Watts hit .296/.332/.503 with 11 HR and 43 RBI in 52 games. The next season, his batting line read .278/.378/.530 and he drove in 33 in 45 games. He was 4th with 21 extra-base hits. In the ABL's initial 10-year run, he was among the career leaders in RBI (220, 11th, between Paul Gorman and David Buckthorpe), doubles (64, 14th), home runs (62, 11th, one ahead of major leaguer Greg Jelks), total bases (229, 14th, between Burton and Jelks), slugging (.527, 16th), strikeouts (252, 3rd, behind Johnson and Craig Stone).
The ABL was replaced by the International Baseball League of Australia for 1999-2000 and Watts was 4 for 23 with a double, two walks, four runs, two RBI and two errors in six games for the Western Australia Heelers. He did not play in 2000-2001. The IBLA was then replaced by the Claxton Shield; in the 2002 Shield, Watts was only 3 for 18 with a double, three runs, no RBI and an error for South Australia. The lone positive was six walks, one shy of the lead. In the 2003 Claxton Shield, the old-timer went 3 for 17 with 3 walks, a double, run and RBI. His final action in Australia's top level came in the 2005 Claxton Shield, when he was just 3 for 23 as the DH for South Australia, with two doubles, three walks, four runs and a RBI. He remained active at lower levels for several years.