Will Craig To Start for NL in Futures Game

Bucs 2016 first round pick to kick off AS Game festivities.

Noah Hiles
July 07, 2019 - 12:42 pm

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND (93.7 The Fan) - With the first half of the Major League Baseball season set to wrap up this afternoon, Pirates fans will have to wait just a few hours to get more of a baseball fix through the MLB All Star festivities. 

While there will be a big focus on Josh Bell and Felipe Vazquez over the next few days, another member of the Pirates organization will be competing at progressive field before the Bucs two all-stars even arrive. Tonight at 7 p.m. Pirates minor league first basemen Will Craig will be playing in the 21st annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures game. Craig, who was selected by the Pirates in the first round (22nd overall) in the 2016 draft earned his invitation to represent Pittsburgh after compiling some impressive numbers this season at Triple-A Indianapolis. 

Craig, who MLB pipeline ranks as the Bucs 12th best prospect, has displayed some serious power for the Indians, slugging .464 with 14 doubles, 17 home runs and 50 RBI in 81 games. In addition to his power at the plate, Craig has impressed some with his abilities in the field, earning an above average grade on his overall defense from pro scouts. 

After having a breakout year with Double-A Altoona last season, the Pirates have started to test Craig’s defensive skills at other positions being that Bell is currently the starting first baseman on the big league club. Craig has seen playing time at third base and the corner outfield positions, in hopes that he can one day find a spot in the majors. 

Although he has bounced around all over the field in 2019, Craig will be starting at first base and be hitting in the sixth spot of the order for the National League this evening. Craig is just the eighth Indianapolis Indian to play in the MLB Futures game since the Tribe became the Pirates minor league affiliate in 2005. 

Unlike years past where the futures game was a contest where the best American prospects would face off against the best international prospects, this season will simply be between the NL and AL. Because of the start time being later in the evening, the game has been reduced to just seven innings. The Futures game can be viewed on MLB Network or streamed live on MLB.com.