Craig was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. Craig spent the entirety of last season with Indianapolis, but he hasn't done enough to prove himself worthy of a big-league roster spot just yet. In 131 games at the Triple-A level last season, he hit a modest .249/.326/.435 (good for a 92 wRC+) with 23 homers.
Craig was added to the Pirates' 40-man roster Wednesday. The move protects Craig from the Rule 5 draft. He still has some work to do to earn a major-league spot after posting a .249/.326/.435 slash line (92 wRC+) for Triple-A Indianapolis last season.
Craig has been working in right field recently for Triple-A Indianapolis, Stephen J. Nesbitt of The Athletic reports. Craig was drafted as a third baseman in 2016, but has only played first base in each of the last three seasons. However, he is obviously not going to displace Josh Bell at first base in Pittsburgh anytime soon, so his best chance to break through to the big leagues is by learning another position. Even so, the Pirates have some pretty impressive outfield depth at the big-league level as well, so a big-league promotion probably isn't imminent. Craig is hitting .274/.354/.565 with 15 home runs in 49 games at Triple-A. He could be promoted to work as the designated hitter in a three-game series in Houston that begins June 25.
Craig is expected to play first base for Triple-A Indianapolis in 2019, DK Pittsburgh Sports reports. The 25-year-old has noticeably slimmed down entering an important year of his development. The 2016 first-round draft choice hit .248/.321/.448 with 20 homers and 102 RBI for Double-A Altoona last season. He then led the Arizona Fall League with six homers while batting .304 with a .947 OPS. Craig isn't expected to see significant playing time in the majors this summer, but a strong season could set him up to challenge starter Josh Bell in 2020.
Craig, 22, is batting .286/.389/.423 with five home runs and 33 RBI through 62 games for High-A Bradenton The polished college bat skipped Low-A all together, though has had a bit of a power outage thus far at this level. In fact, this was always the fear with Craig; that he would not hit for enough power to stick at a corner infield position. The Pirates seem less worried about this fact than other organizations (see Josh Bell, John Jaso, etc) but as a result Craig may not offer much other than a decent average.