Will Craig
Will Craig with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019 spring training (Cropped).jpg
Craig with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019
Free agent
First baseman
Born: (1994-11-16) November 16, 1994 (age 27)
Johnson City, Tennessee
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Professional debut
MLB: August 27, 2020, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
KBO: August 12, 2021, for the Kiwoom Heroes
MLB statistics
(through 2021 season)
Batting average.203
Home runs1
Runs batted in3
KBO statistics
(through 2021 season)
Batting average.249
Home runs6
Runs batted in30
Teams

William Isaac Craig (born November 16, 1994) is an American professional baseball first baseman who is a free agent. He has previously played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates and in the KBO League for the Kiwoom Heroes.

Amateur career

Craig attended Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee.[1] The Kansas City Royals selected Craig in the 13th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft, but he did not sign. He attended Wake Forest University, where he played college baseball for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.[2]

Craig played as both a third baseman and pitcher at Wake Forest.[3] As a freshman in 2014, he had 189 at-bats over 54 games and hit .280/.357/.439 with eight home runs and 36 runs batted in (RBI). As a pitcher he appeared in seven games with one start and went 1–0 with a 4.05 earned run average (ERA).[4] He played collegiate summer baseball for the St. Cloud Rox of the Northwoods League in 2014. As a sophomore, Craig was named the ACC Player of the Year after hitting .382/.496/.702 with 13 home runs and 58 RBI.[5] As a pitcher he was 3–4 with a 6.09 ERA and 39 strikeouts. After the 2015 season, he played collegiate summer baseball for the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod Baseball League.[6][7]

Professional career

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Craig in the first round, 22nd overall, in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft. He was the most recent first round pick out of Wake Forest until pitcher Jared Shuster in 2020.[8]

Craig at the 2019 All-Star Futures Game
Craig at the 2019 All-Star Futures Game

He signed and was then assigned to the West Virginia Black Bears where he batted .280 with two home runs and 23 RBIs in 63 games. In 2017, Craig played for the Bradenton Marauders, posting a .271 batting average with six home runs and 61 RBIs in 123 games,[9] and in 2018, he played with the Altoona Curve, batting .248 with twenty home runs and 102 RBIs in 132 games.[10] He spent the 2019 season with the Indianapolis Indians,[11] slashing .249/.326/.435 with 23 home runs and 78 RBIs over 131 games. Craig was named to the 2019 All-Star Futures Game.[12] Craig was added to the Pirates 40–man roster following the 2019 season.[13]

On August 27, 2020, Craig was promoted to the major leagues for the first time and made his debut that night against the St. Louis Cardinals. Craig went hitless in 4 at-bats for the Pirates in 2020. On November 25, 2020, Craig was designated for assignment.[14] He was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis on December 2.[15]

On May 13, 2021, Craig was selected to the active roster.[16] That day, he hit his first MLB home run, a solo shot off of San Francisco Giants pitcher Camilo Doval.

On May 27, 2021, Craig's 15th MLB game,[17] he was the key fielder in a blooper reel highlight of 2021, when he chased Javier Báez down the first base line toward home with two outs, instead of simply stepping on the bag to force him out. Willson Contreras scored from second base as Craig threw the ball to catcher Michael Pérez. Báez was able to safely run back to first base, and Pérez's throw to try to retire Báez at first base sailed into right field as second baseman Adam Frazier was late to cover the bag at first. The play was ruled as two errors, with one on Craig and the other on Pérez.

After batting .217/.277/.300 with 1 home run and 3 RBI in 18 games, Craig was designated for assignment by Pittsburgh on June 4.[18] He was outrighted to the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians on June 9.[19]

Kiwoom Heroes

On July 13, 2021, Craig was acquired by the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO League and signed a contract worth $371K with the team.[20] In 61 games, he slashed .248/.320/.383 with 6 home runs and 30 RBIs. Craig was not re-signed for the 2022 season and is currently a free agent.

References

  1. ^ Williams, Trey (November 15, 2012). "Diamond life at Wake Forest attracts Science Hill senior Will Craig". Johnson City Press. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  2. ^ Ongie, Dave (May 28, 2015). "Former Hilltopper Craig enjoys breakout season, named ACC player of year". Johnson City Press. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  3. ^ Collins, Dan (April 16, 2015). "Craig is do-it-all player for Deacons". Winston Salem Journal. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  4. ^ "Sudden impact: Craig's freshman season at Wake Forest a success". Johnson City Press.
  5. ^ report, Journal staff. "Deacons' Craig named ACC Player of Year". Winston-Salem Journal.
  6. ^ "#22 Will Craig". pointstreak.com. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  7. ^ "Wareham's Sowers wins Home Run Hitting Contest". capecodbaseball.org. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  8. ^ Newspapers, CONOR O'NEILL Lee. "Wake Forest pitcher Jared Shuster was picked in the first round by the Atlanta Braves". Greensboro News and Record.
  9. ^ "Will Craig Stats, Highlights, Bio - MiLB.com Stats - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  10. ^ "Will Craig Stats, Highlights, Bio - MiLB.com Stats - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  11. ^ Cheyne Reiter (March 30, 2019). "Quick Hitters with Will Craig". MiLB.com. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  12. ^ Jim Callis (June 28, 2019). "Here are the 2019 Futures Game rosters". MLB.com. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  13. ^ Adam Berry (November 20, 2019). "Bucs add top prospects Hayes, Cruz to 40-man". MLB.com. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  14. ^ "Pirates Designate Will Craig For Assignment". MLB Trade Rumors.
  15. ^ "Minor MLB Transactions: 12/3/20". MLB Trade Rumors.
  16. ^ "Pirates Select Will Craig, Designate Sean Poppen". MLB Trade Rumors.
  17. ^ Matt Maldre (May 27, 2021). "The best comments on the Javier Báez rundown at first base". 57hits.com. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  18. ^ Adams, Steve (4 June 2021). "Pirates Designate Will Craig For Assignment". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  19. ^ "Pirates Outright Will Craig".
  20. ^ Polishuk, Mark. "KBO's Kiwoom Heroes Acquire Will Craig". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved 13 July 2021.