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2016 MLB Draft Profile: Will Craig, 3B, Wake Forest

A successful college hitter that can do a lot things well but doesn't have a true calling card tool.

Ryan Dunsmore

Information

Height: 6-3

Weight: 235

B/T: R/R

Classification: Junior

Summary

When a sophomore wins a conference Player of the Year, you take notice. When that conference is the ACC, you really take notice since it's one of the two best conferences in baseball on a year basis with the SEC. Will Craig did that. He didn't do it 2016 because he missed some time, but still posted improved numbers.

Craig does a lot of things well at the plate. He had more walks than strikeouts this year (34/23) and actually did it as a sophomore too. So, his plate discipline is not just a junior year aberration. He has hits 13 home runs in each of the last two years, and remember he missed time this year. He played in thirteen less games this season. He average a home run ever 10.2 at-bats compared to 14.7 as a sophomore. This season, his batting line was .417/.551/.826.

The downside is that he didn't perform that well in the Cape Cod League last summer. He had a batting line of .242/.366/.318 with more strikeouts than walks. The one home run is a concern considering it's a wood bat league.

He has a lot of bat control and can fight off pitches to limit strikeouts. He has a very good bat path and knows how to adjust his swing to meet the pitch location. However, there is some struggle with the lower half because he starts with some fairly high hands. He looks like he could be an average hitter in the pros.

Power wise, when he's either able to golf or get extension in the upper half of the zone, he can really drive the ball. He can definitely pull the ball over the fence, but he's not a home run or nothing guy. He is able to drive the ball to all fields with doubles. He looks like a slightly above-average power hitter.

In the field, his stocky build is somewhat of a concern. He has good hip mobility and is surprisingly light on his feet. Yet, the initial lateral movement is slower than desired and makes you wonder if he needs to move off position. Considering his athleticism you don't want to put him at first base because he moves better than that. Plus, he has a low-90's arm on the mound and doesn't need to be wasted. He definitely moves well enough for a corner outfield position.

Floor

Worst case scenario is a move to first base where he's too average with the bat to crack a major league team. Yet, he could be versatile enough as a corner infield and outfield utility guy with some pop off the bench.

Ceiling

I can see an average defensive third baseman with a .250-.270 hitter with about 20 home runs. Considering the state of third baseman in the current game, that's a well-regarded third baseman.

Projected Draft Round

Looking like mid-first round to compensation round.

Will he sign?

Yep. No reason not to. His stock isn't going to blossom anymore than it has.

Bibliography

Fangraphs

Summary

Craig is a risky bet because all of his prospect value is tied to his bat, and if he doesn’t hit enough to justify an everyday role as a first baseman or DH, then recouping value forces an organizational compromise. At that point, you’re basically choosing between him providing right-handed power hitting depth as a quad-A player or moving him to the mound, where he has decidedly less potential as a reliever. I can see him going inside the top two rounds, but he’ll come with a lower floor than most other hitting prospects picked in that territory who can advance on other redeeming tools or positional rarity.