Driving In Runs Is Like a Do-or-Die Situation

1st round pick Will Craig getting opportunities

Jeff Hathhorn
March 17, 2019 - 12:58 pm

93.7 the Fan

BRADENTON, FL (93.7 the Fan) – No one has played more games for the Pirates this spring than first round pick Will Craig.

The 24 year-old is coming off a league-leading 102 RBI with AA Altoona last year while surpassing his pro home run total by 14.

“Going up there and looking to do damage every swing and trying to be most productive as well,” Craig said.  “Last year was more power than quality at bats, in the end I drove in runs”

Craig said he is looking for more balance at the plate this year and be more aggressive, but trying to keep patience.  The Johnson City, Tennessee native is proud of having the fifth highest RBI total in all of minor-league baseball in 2018.  Craig said it’s as much a mindset as anything.

“For me there is something in my head that clicked, that was like ‘get these guys in now’ it’s like a do-or-die situations,” Craig said.  “No matter if it’s the first inning or the 12th inning, it doesn’t matter.  I always had something in the back of my head that it’s do-or-die.”

Playing in 17 Grapefruit League games while hitting .292, the first baseman has spent a lot of time around the veterans and said he’s learned as much just chatting at the batting cage as anything.  Craig says that’s where hitters compare notes and discuss contact points and tendencies of pitchers.

“It shows they are no different from us, they’re more consistent that’s what makes them big leaguers,” Craig said.  “The way they think and the process they go through is the same that we are trying to go through every day.  It’s not just because they are in the big leagues that they have everything figured out.”

Craig is part of the next wave.  In fact, he was in a game against the Braves as one of five Pirates first pound picks to play.  Craig was joined by Cole Tucker, KeBryan Hayes, Travis Swaggerty and Kevin Newman.

The former Division One National Baseball Player of the Year and an all-ACC first baseman and pitcher at Wake Forest, has been roommates with the affable Tucker for three years.  He is also very close with Hayes and they talk often about taking the next step together.

“All the time, we know it’s a process and it won’t be handed to us because of where we were drafted or what we’ve done in the past,” Craig said.  “I need to go out there every day and do my job.  They aren’t going to hand it to us.  It’s definitely a process we’ve talked about together.  It would be really cool if we all were called up around the same time.”

“For us it’s going day-by-day and every day is a new day for us.  Going out every day and getting better so when our time to get called up comes, we are ready to go and can help our team win.”

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