The Pittsburgh Pirates were fortunate enough to have two picks in the top-15 in the 2013 MLB Draft, and so far it looks like they used them wisely. With the ninth overall pick, the Bucs selected prep outfielder Austin Meadows. With pick 14, the Pirates selected Reese McGuire, the player that I have ranked eighth on my top 10 Pirates’ prospects list.
McGuire, 18, was drafted as a high school catcher, but he is clearly advanced for his age and experience level. Unlike most high school catchers, his coach allowed him to call his own games, giving him valuable experience that most other young catchers don’t have. McGuire already having experience with game-calling should allow him to advance through the system a bit quicker than most other catchers do.
In his first professional season, McGuire spent time with both the Pirates’ rookie-ball team and their New York-Penn League squad, the Jamestown Jammers. He spent just four games with the Jammers, getting 17 plate appearances. With the Jammers, in a very small sample size, McGuire hit for a .250/.294/.250 slash line.
In a much larger sample size, 198 plate appearances with the Pirates’ rookie-ball team, he hit for a .323/.380/.380 line with 11 doubles. McGuire hasn’t shown much power, with just a .380 slugging percentage combined in 2013, but he has shown the ability to get on base and play great defense.
The scouting report on McGuire coming out of high school was that he would be a great pure hitter and an amazing defensive catcher. In his first season, he hasn’t disappointed on defense. Combined between rookie-ball and the Jammers, McGuire threw out 18 of the 41 runners who tried to steal against him. That’s is an amazing 44 percent (30 is average).
At just 18 years old with only 215 total plate appearances in pro-ball, McGuire is still five or six years away from reaching the MLB. Even though he isn’t anywhere near the big leagues, he is still going to be an intriguing prospect to follow as he progresses through the Pirates’ farm system.