Pirates Sign First Round Pick Will Craig, Tenth Round Pick Matt Anderson

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that they have signed first round pick Will Craig. He signed for full slot amount, which is valued at $2,253,700. He will be assigned to Morgantown.

Craig was a third baseman this season at Wake Forest, where he hit .392/.537/.766 line in 171 at-bats, along with 16 homers. Most believe he profiles better at first base in the future despite a plus arm at the hot corner. Craig offers the Pirates an advanced college hitter with a big bat, who has both power and the ability to get on base. You can view his player page here and a recap of the pick here.

Tenth round pick Matt Anderson signed for $10,000, which is $146,600 below his slot amount. He was a senior at Morehead State this season and the pick was made with saving cap room in mind. Anderson still had a strong senior season, he can hit 94 MPH as a starter, and he was ranked in Baseball America’s top 300 for this draft class, so it was still a solid pick at 315th overall. His player page can be found here.

Our draft tracker has been updated with seven of the bonus amounts in the top ten rounds announced.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Mark Lambros

Is Morgantown a conservative placement for him? Do you think he’ll be there all season or just to get his feet wet and move up?

michael t

Very interesting article posted by Chris Adamski in the Trib today detailing Bucco scout Jerry Jordan following Craig since high school and “pounding the table” in favor of this pick. Director of amateur Scouting Joe Dellicarri compares Craig to Newman and Kramer as a mature, cerebral and accomplished college hitter.
They all love them when they pick them, don’t they? Let’s hope we all do in 2018.


I don’t know what Matt Anderson’s post-baseball career path will be, but I hope it doesn’t involve negotiating.

I can understand accepting below slot, but man, at least get yourself a reasonable one-year salary like $35-$40K so you can afford lunch.


I know its a business, but part of me feels sorry for some of these senior college kids – they get drafted into slots, just so they can be low-balled – because they don’t have any leverage…$10k for a 10th round pick?

michael t

I don’t think this conduct would be permissible in the business world. Checking on baseball exemption, then I’ll draft the class action complaint.

J Nader

I thought that for a minute too, but the alternative is that they wouldn’t be drafted that high, then probably get drafted in the 30+ rounds since a lot of them are borderline at best prospects, so maybe they wouldn’t have even signed for that much.

My guess is that teams are reaching out to the seniors they like to determine who is willing to sign for 10k, and who would want 100k, and the 10k seniors get popped in rounds 7-10, while the others get drafted after the 10th since they can then sign for up to 100k, and not cost the team any pool money

Bill Harvey

I kind of thought this was a pick where they could save a couple hundred grand, but I guess not. I admittedly don’t know much about him, but by the looks of it, he can hit. Which is the same reason I got excited for Connor Joe.

Not that I am botheredcby the pick, but if you lone ability is the ability to hit, what happens if for whatever reason you can no longer hit?

Zach H

See: Joe, Connor for the answer to your question.

Adam R

Did I read this right? We signed someone for 10k, or is that just signing bonus?


Signing bonus and what he signed for are the same thing.


That’s all he got, he’s a college senior. His alternative is to go get a regular job.

Adam R

Dang he can make more working at freakin walmart

Zach H

He still gets a salary. 10k is just his signing bonus. Although, his salary won’t be great either.

Zach H

How much are we thinking they’ll have to go over-slot for Lodolo and MacGregor? I mean Lodolo is already looking at 1.5 million at slot and MacGregor is almost at 1 million.


I don’t think they offer MacGregor $1m – he was a bit of a reach where he was drafted – I think they are going to try to get him signed for something in the $500k to $750k range – just my hunch…


John … If the Pirates end up with just two of the four prep pitchers (Lodolo, MacGregor, Ogle, Kranick), who would be your best two?


Ogle and Kranick

joe s

I thought he would sign for under slot so that the Pirates could use the money on the 11th pick. Now it looks like signing the 11th pick is not going to happen.


I thought the same…but the Pirates have a lot of free money already for 11.


Agreed. I thought this pick would save some money – like $100-200,000. It’s not really Will Craig. It’s just that I don’t like that the slotting system values the 22nd pick at over $2.2 million. The draft is such a crap shoot that it is highly unlikely that on average the 22nd pick becomes a very good player

Dan Berty

Not sure why Pirates fans aren’t more excited about Craig’s bat. I understand that Craig’s speed & D is questionable, but so was Pedro, & I find that comparing Craig to Pedro is helpful to understand how elite his bat is. Pedro’s best season (SO) produced a .386/.463/.684 compared to Craig’s .392/.537/.766 line. That’s a huge difference. Pedro was in the SEC, while Craig was in the ACC, both top conferences.

Other comparisons that I found interesting was Mark McGwire’s: .387/.490/.871 & recently drafted 1B DJ Peterson (2013’s 12th overall pick by the M’s) .408/.520/.807

Or an easier view to compare:
Pedro .386/.463/.684
Craig .392/.537/.766
Peterson .408/.520/.807
McGwire .387/.490/.871

One note when comparing to Peterson, as he’s struggled the past 2 years in AA, is that he did play at a hitter friendly college/conference at New Mexico


I like his bat, if he can stick at third base and hit with power (and there are some questions about both). I also felt he was selected to high at 22, based on where most people had him projected….


Wake Forest is a pretty hitter friendly park


They don’t see it like you and I DB!!! They don’t see it!!! Hitters Hit!! This dude don’t strike out!! Watched a number of games and he controls the strike zone!! No….he ain’t athletic at all!! Neither is Miguel Cabrera!!


Great comp to Miguel Cabrera!


Cabrera was athletic, before he got all juiced up and put on 50 pounds!

Douglas C

I agree with you BHW, but, considering the Cape, there is a BIG difference hitting with aluminum versus wood. His numbers at the Cape concern me, but like you said, a hitter is a hitter and he has the time in the Minors to adjust.


Another factor in evaluating Craig is that Wake Forest’s ballpark is a bandbox. That’s not a good thing.


I’m sure someone has charted the distance on those homeruns to see how many was legit


His power numbers are likely to really struggle.


plus pedro played with a better bat to hit with.


Cutch hitting 3rd tonight

dr dng

Time for the dl.


If that makes a difference, I’ll be astonished! He should be batting in the back!


I hear he has some interest in TV production, put him all the way back- in the truck 😉



Daniel C

Hey John
Realizing the ink is drying, where does he fit in Top 30?

dr dng

Wow, that was fast. I guess $$$ and now
winning teams at all levels as well as a
newly respected FO makes a difference.

J Nader

That’s not it, it’s the slotting system. Most 1st rounders sign really quick now


You woulda thunk that maybe they could have saved a buck or two since he was drafted somewhat higher than where he was projected.


thinking the same thing, maybe other teams were hot on him too??


I still think it is a bad pick but time will tell. Very limited athlete, not unlike Billy Butler. He’s got an AL body. Hopefully, the bat is there. That Cape Cod league experience concerns me.

Arik Florimonte

It seems silly to give those 40 games so much weight, especially given all his other success.

Blaine Huff

Well, I don’t know much about him…but, if the NL does go to the DH…


I speak of David Ortiz with contempt, because he is a member of the Botox. However, I would LOVE to have a hitter like that on my team (although I am also not a fan of the DH.)

Just hit, Baby!

Wilbur Miller

Haha, Botox.

Doug W

If he turned out like Billy Butler, that would be tremendous.


not for us…..he is pedro bad on defense

michael t

There are numerous distractions during the Cape Cod league experience.


He can hit or he can’t. Period.


I have been scared of wooden bats my whole life. This year, my first extended wooden bat experience, I have found that a GOOD wooden bat has pretty much the exact same effect of an aluminum bat. I no longer buy into the hype, I’m hitting .400 with a wooden bat, better than i ever did with an aluminum bat when i was younger.

michael t

run it out
Agreed. You missed my attempt at humor. Spent a fair amount of time there and had buddies who played. Baseball is just one great opportunity of many for a college athlete during the 24 hours of a day on the Cape.


Bam!!!!! Lock and Loaded!!! I am the GM on this pick!!! This was my pick so I take full responsibility for him making it to Pittsburgh!!


I did a “shadow draft” for the Pirates on the minor league ball site through the first 10 rounds.

1. Nolan Jones IF PA HS
1A. Bryan Reynolds OF Vandy
2. Travis MacGregor
3. Matt Krook LHP Oregon
4. Braedan Ogle

5. Tyler Mondile RHP NJ HS
6. Jake Noll IF Florida Gulf Coast
7. Brent Gibbs
8. Jason Goldstein C Illinois
9. Brandon Lopez SS MIA
10. Manny Jefferson SS Pepperdine

The basic rule is that all of these guys must have been available at the time of the Pirates’ pick. A second rule is that I can’t go over the Pirates’ budget, using the same rules as the MLB teams have.

As you see, I kept 3 of the picks. Krook is a wild college lefty with huge stuff who was essentially Jason Groome 3 yeaars ago. Mondile is a prep with good command who beat Groome in a head to head matchup. Noll is a good college bat, probably limited to 2B or LF. Goldstein and Lopez are senior signs; Lopez started 4 years for the U. Jefferson is a less athletic version of JaCoby Jones, hopefully with more acceptable ways of unwinding after a game.


Why not just take Craig at 1 and Nolan Jones at 1A? Craig is definitely a better prospect than Reynolds, and while Jones will be overslot, I don’t think it would be prohibitive if they liked him enough.

J Nader

In a shadow draft, you aren’t supposed to have the foresight to know Jones was available at 41. You make the picks the same time the team does, so he wouldn’t have known he would still be there


I like a lot of this. Reynolds would have been a great pick there.


So YOU’RE the one that passed on PEDez and Nolan Jones!!!!!!



I see that Cleveland, who finally picked Jones with the 55th pick, announced him as a 3B. It was clear that he was unlikely to stick at SS, but they aren’t even going to try him there.


Actually 30 teams passed on Nolan Jones – some of them two or three times – before he was finally selected with the 55th pick.


I did my friend!! Nolan would not have been a bad pick, this kid just hits the ball!!!

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