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Arizona Fall League

Pirates' Craig homers, drives in 4 in Fall League

MLB.com

Will Craig played a huge role in the Surprise Saguaros' 9-2 win over the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League Tuesday afternoon.

Craig, the Pirates' No. 16 prospect, started the day with a three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning, giving the Saguaros a 4-0 lead.

Will Craig played a huge role in the Surprise Saguaros' 9-2 win over the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League Tuesday afternoon.

Craig, the Pirates' No. 16 prospect, started the day with a three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning, giving the Saguaros a 4-0 lead.

"I got a 2-1 slider or cutter slider and it felt pretty good coming off the bat," Craig said of the homer. "He went first pitch in the at-bat to me, so I figured he would try to go sometime later in the at-bat. I guessed right and got a good swing off."

Gameday

The homer was Craig's fifth of the Fall League season tying him for the second most in the league lead with Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso.

Craig finished the game 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs and a walk to bring his average up to .303 in the Fall League. He also showed good discipline in his walk, battling back from a 1-2 count.

"One thing I really want to work on this Fall League was my plate discipline. Early on I kind of struggled a bit," Craig said.

Craig was drafted in the first round in 2016 after he slashed .379/.520/.731 in his Junior season at Wake Forest, where he was a unanimous first-team All-American.

He came into the Arizona Fall League after posting his best season so far in his three years in the Minors. Last season, Craig hit .248 with 20 home runs and 102 RBIs in Double-A Altoona.

While Craig's power numbers were up, his on-base percentage dropped and he struck out 128 times in his 132 games.

"Trying to have good plate discipline, but at the same time produce power," Craig said on his outlook at the plate. "So I'm trying to minimize the chases and maximize the good swings on the ball."

Craig, who turns 25 on Friday, is now slashing .263/.360/.401 in his Minor League career.

After playing a little bit of third in his first season in the Minors, Craig has found his spot moving forward at first base. He played 122 games there last year and has been in the field in all of his Fall League appearances.

"It's been a really slow process," Craig said. "This year was a lot better. Kept working hard every day, and I'm still working hard as I come out here. It's starting to slowly feel pretty good, you know, I still got a long way to go, but I'm looking forward to it."

The 6-foot-3 first baseman has made two errors so far this fall.

Craig wasn't the only Saguaro with an impressive outing Tuesday, as they were also helped by starting pitcher Nate Pearson.

Pearson, the Blue Jays' No. 4 prospect and No. 90 overall, threw five scoreless frames. The performance follows an outing last week in which Pearson was perfect in four innings of action.

Drake Dunaway is a senior journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.