Scouting profile: Reese McGuire
Patience is required anytime a club selects a high school player in the first round of the Draft. During this past Arizona Fall League, I scouted a first-round pick from the 2013 Draft who was selected out of high school. From what I saw in Arizona, he will more than likely make his mark as a Pittsburgh Pirate.
Left-handed-hitting, right-handed-throwing Reese McGuire was selected by the Pirates following his senior year at Kentwood (Wash.) High School. McGuire bypassed an opportunity to play for the University of San Diego to sign with Pittsburgh. Now, after playing parts of three seasons in the Pirates development system, he's ranked No. 6 on the Pirates' Top 30 Prospects list.
Named the 2012 USA Baseball "Dick" Case Player of the Year, McGuire was a member of the gold-medal-winning 18-and-under USA team. He hit .400, caught, played third base and the outfield.
McGuire just completed an AFL season where he hit .294 and drove in six runs for his Glendale club. He was named to the West Division of the Fall Stars roster. McGuire has enough hitting ability to be seen as a viable offensive component in a lineup. He's far from an "automatic out."
McGuire makes good contact. In his career to date, including this past Fall League, he has struck out only 109 times in 1112 plate appearances. McGuire has drawn 73 walks by recognizing pitches well, exercising patience and using sound hitting mechanics.
McGuire has a rather flat swing without much loft and he has shown virtually no home run power at the plate. He does, however, have the ability to hit line drive doubles to the gaps.
While his offense holds promise, his work behind the plate is well above average. I was impressed when I saw the ease with which he called a game.
McGuire has advanced mechanics for a 20-year-old with limited experience. He receives the ball very well, blocks balls in the dirt and can throw out even the best base runners with good pop time. McGuire transfers the ball from glove to throwing hand and then has excellent carry and strength on his throws. He has thrown out 34 percent of the runners trying to steal.
McGuire is a mature and very capable catcher. He can control a game and provides excellent leadership. McGuire is appropriately confident in his abilities.
Providing a rare combination for a catcher -- capable offense with extremely good defense -- the fact that he is a left-handed-hitter is a bonus.
His lack of home run power is a minor concern. At an even 6-feet and 181 pounds, McGuire isn't very big. He is, however, a good athlete.
While his mechanics are good behind the plate, there are times I saw footwork that didn't look as refined as his other catching mechanics.
I find this interesting
McGuire's caught stealing percentage was impacted negatively by throwing out only 25 percent of potential basestealers this past year. Prior to that, he had percentages of 44 percent in 2013 and 39 percent in 2014.
The future for McGuire
McGuire has all the skills required of a starting catcher. When his development is complete, his game management alone will add value to the Pirates. The bonus will be having a catcher that can hit.
McGuire's work ethic and attitude are welcome attributes as a leader on and off the field.
Upside remains in his offensive game. I think McGuire will be a good big league hitter with a chance to drive in runs. I don't see him gaining much home run power, but his gap doubles will be welcome.
McGuire in a word