(WV Black Bears)

Pirates Prospect Interview: Will Craig

Pirates 2016 first round pick Will Craig finished his season with the West Virginia Black Bears of the New Yotk-Penn League with a .280 batting average in 63 games. He had two home runs and 23 RBI, playing at third base and serving as a DH. PiratesDugout.com caught up with Craig at the end of the season.

PD -- A slow start and then at one point a 17 game hitting streak, what has happened this season?

WC -- It was one of those things I was hoping would happen at the very beginning of the season, but it took a few weeks, but I started to get my feet wet a little better.

PD -- What was the adjustment for you going from college ball to pro ball?

WC -- Probably just getting uses to playing every day and getting used to the work schedule we had. Not going to school and mostly just finding out how baseball is, it's a little bit of a different mindset for me, but it's been a great process overall.

PD -- You had a bit of an adjustment with the wooden bat at first didn't you?

WC -- I swung metal pretty much over the past nine months and then I had to go back to wood. It’s a little bit of a process. It’s not going to be perfect. Every day I felt it getting a little better here and there.

PD -- Early on you struggled, that was a new experience for you wasn't it?

WC -- Playing at a high level for so long I was surprised that it took that long for me to get out of the early slump. From an at bats perespective I was still getting on base. I was still squaring up, but they just weren't falling and it wasn't going my way. Sometimes in baseball there is a lot of luck involved and skill obviously, but earlier in the year it wasn't what I wanted numbers wise. I was a little surprised it took that long, but finally I got to where I felt comfortable.

PD -- There were rumors you might be switched to first base, anything to that?

WC -- If they wanted to move me to first, they probably would have had me at first from the get-go.

PD -- The first taste of pro ball, were you surprised by anything?

WC -- I saw pretty much everything you could at school. I saw change ups and breaking balls at 3 (balls) - 0 (strikes). At one point in the year, I swung at a 3-0 fastball and hit a home run. Here, at 3-0, it’s one of those things if you swing you better hit it out or hit a double off the wall. In the Pittsburgh system, you have to gain their trust. Right now, being my first year, I was trying to gain everything I could. I don’t want to lose their trust by swinging at a 3-0 pitch and not hit it well. I just tried to go out there and have good at-bats.


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