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Pirates select Will Craig with 22nd overall pick

MLB: Game one-New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the 22nd overall pick in the 2016 draft, the Pirates have selected third baseman Will Craig from Wake Forest University. MLB.com had Craig being selected 19th overall in their mock draft, while Baseball America had him being selected at 22nd and ESPN had him slipping further to 34th overall.

The Pirates signed David Freese this offseason to help cover for the injured Jung-Ho Kang. While Freese becomes a free agent following this season, Kang is signed through the 2019 season. Of their top 20 prospects, only Ke’Bryan Hayes can play the hot corner. Craig is just over two years older than Hayes and could beat the youngster to the major league roster.

The consensus is that the righty is a strong hitter. In 2016, he hit for the very high average of .347 while slugging .731 and launching 16 home runs.

There are concerns about Craig’s athleticism and defense. It’s possible he could move to be a designated hitter in the future, but teams are eyeing him as a third baseman.

Prior to the draft, MLB.com ranked him at 31st in their top 200 draft prospect list and Baseball America’s Top 100 Draft Prospects list had him at 39.

For an introduction to Craig, check out Chris Cotillo’s recent Q&A with him.