Pittsburgh Pirates: Sign First Round Pick Will Craig

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates just wrapped up their 2016 MLB Draft on the 11th and they are now in the process of negotiating with their picks.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed first round pick, #22 overall, Will Craig.  Craig, a third-baseman from Wake Forest University is expected to received an at-slot bonus.  The slot bonus for the #22 pick 2,257,700 dollars.

I am a little surprised that Craig is getting slot-value.  On all the major sites he was ranked the highest on MLB Pipeline at #31, and he was ranked on Baseball America as the 45th best prospect in the draft. With that, I thought the Pirates reached on him to save some money for later picks. One thing that could be is that he expected to go around the Pittsburgh Pirates pick.  One expert suggested that Craig was going to be drafted by the New York Mets at pick #19, but they went else where when Boston College pitcher Justin Dunn was still on the board.   With that he may have been able to use that in negotiations that he is worth that draft slot.

Here is some of the scouting report that I wrote about Craig on draft day:

"“This is a solid pick, he can play third base, but might be moving for first baseman.  He is an offensive player, he hit .379 with 16 home runs this year. What makes Craig a threat is his size.  He is 6’3” and 235 pounds. He may project better as a first baseman than a third baseman due to his size.  Regardless the Pirates are thin in the minors at third base and first base.  His bat will play at first base also. He makes consistent, hard contact and produces back-spin on the ball.”"

Related Story: First Round Pick Full Scouting Report

The Pirates have not announced the signings as official, but it is expected to be made soon.  The next Pirates’ home game they likely will have a press conference and introduction for Craig just like they have for other first round picks.  Craig is an advanced hitter who likely will start at Short-A ball Morgantown and move quickly through the system if he is performing.  It would not shock me if he is sent to Low-A West Virginia.  David Slusser had more on how Craig fits into the Pirate’s organization:

"“So where does this leave Craig? His bat will likely be the fourth best in the system, behind Meadows, Bell, and Hayes. His defense is not as good as the other prospects, but him being a polished hitter should allow him to be a top 10 prospect in the system after the Pirates sign him. Craig will also be much needed prospect depth behind Bell and Hayes, as their next best corner infield prospects consist of Jordan Luplow andKevin Kramer.” David Slusser"

Related Story: How Will Craig Fits

Check back over the next few days and weeks as more players sign with the Pirates.  The signing deadline for draftees in July 15th.  The College players likely will sign quicker than the prep players as college players do not have as much leverage in negotiations.