The Pirates have designated first baseman/outfielder Will Craig for assignment, per a club announcement. He was the team’s first-round pick back in 2016. Craig’s roster spot will go to right-hander Ashton Goudeau, whose previously reported waiver claim out of the Rockies organization has now been formally announced by Pittsburgh.
Craig, 26, made his MLB debut this past season but didn’t get a real look, as he appeared in just two games and was hitless in four plate appearances. The former Wake Forest slugger ripped through A-ball and had an above-average showing at Double-A in 2018, but his 2019 campaign in Triple-A left plenty to be desired: .249/.326/.435 with 23 home runs and a 26.3 percent strikeout rate.
Scouting reports on Craig throughout his career have praised his above-average raw power, a potentially average hit tool and a strong throwing arm, but he’s limited to the outfield corners or first base on the defensive spectrum. Pittsburgh gave him 400 innings at third base at Class-A in 2016, but he’s been exclusively a first baseman/right fielder since. A player with that limited defensive profile needs to hit more than Craig has shown in the upper minors, but it’s at least a bit surprising that the club felt him to be the most expendable player on the 40-man roster. The Pirates will have a week to put him through outright waivers, trade him or release him. Craig has multiple minor league options remaining, which could potentially be of appeal to another organization.