Baseball America posted their fifth mock draft on Tuesday afternoon and for the first time, 3B/1B Will Craig from Wake Forest was the choice for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We have mentioned Craig here a few times, but never really got into him too much because the only time he matched up to the 22nd overall pick was an early season draft rankings.
Craig hit .379/.520/.731 in 55 games, with 16 homers, 16 doubles and 47 walks. He was recently ranked 31st overall in this draft class and he has three tools that rate better than average. There is no doubt Craig should be able to hit his way to the majors and hit enough to start, but most people think he will end up at first base. He has the arm for third base, but not the feet/hands/range for the position. Craig is also a below average runners, so as a first baseman with an average glove, he will need to hit well. He’s a big right-handed hitter, standing 6’3″, 235 pounds.
As for other names mentioned for the Pirates recently, BA has them drafted as follows:
9 – Zack Burdi
12 – Taylor Trammell
16. Alex Kirilloff
20. Robert Tyler
21. TJ Zeuch
23. Matt Thaiss
33. Nolan Jones
BA mentioned a couple things that are relevant to the Pirates. They believe if Burdi isn’t taken at #9 by the Tigers, he will make it into the 20’s and he has been mentioned a few times recently as the Pirates pick. BA also mentions that they think the Pirates are looking for a prep bat and that’s something I’ve heard multiple times, so if Nolan Jones is available, I think they would take him over Craig. That’s just based on everything I’ve heard, plus the fact that Craig is a first baseman, while Jones plays shortstop and is athletic enough to play almost anywhere. Their recent draft strategy has been to take an athletic player with the hit tool and find a position for them. Craig would provide a bat with some power, which is missing in the system, but unless they believe he can stick at third base (giving him a second possible position), then I don’t see this pick happening.
I have included a video of Craig courtesy of Jesse Burkhart