Reese McGuire is fully committed to the Pirates.
That was a decision he’d formed before the MLB Draft began on June 6th. He knew, that if his name was called before the 15th pick, he wasn’t going to attend the University of San Diego, where he’d made a prior commitment.
The Pirates were widely expected to call his name with their first pick, the ninth overall selection, but Austin Meadows’ name was called. They took McGuire next, with the 14th pick. That slot solidified McGuire’s future.
“I was confident when the Pirates picked again, in the 14th, that my name would be called,” McGuire said Friday night, by phone during his high school graduation/draft party.
As of late Friday, he’d not spoken to the Pirates and they’ve not agreed upon a deal.
There was also little doubt that the Pirates were the team with the most interest. Team scouts were attending his games in packs, courting him early on during his games for Kentwood High School in Washington.
“I have no idea what went on during the Draft, but they were one of the teams that had the highest possibility. They were always the main option,” he said.
The catcher was expected to go high, possibly in the first ten picks, after he’d hit .463 in his senior year and was named USA Baseball National Player of the Year. But it’s his defense that’s gotten him the most notice, with the hopes that his bat will develop even more. McGuire has always favored being behind the plate, but knows that his abilities are a long way from big-league ready.
“I’m looking forward to professional coaching in the minors. And I need to work on things on both sides of my game. I can improve in both areas. I want to try some new things and be adaptive.”
He took to his Twitter account to excitedly greet and congratulate Meadows. They got to know each a little, playing in the USA Game. There’s a comfort level, even if they aren’t close friends. But they already have a plan.
“We joked that we would be roomies,” said McGuire. “We hung out, and he’s got such a great work ethic. He has a great family. We connected the first night of the draft, and we’re both just looking forward to working our way through the system together.”
Leaving the college opportunity behind to begin that journey, McGuire knew would be disappointing for people who were counting him at the University of San Diego.
“They’re bummed, but I talked to the coaches and they understood. It’s a beautiful school and a great program. But I want to take the next step. It’s bittersweet.”
As for that next step, he’s unsure exactly where he’s going, but expects to head to Florida to play rookie ball, though he hasn’t spoken to anyone in the organization about that yet.
Being on a team in the midst of a strong effort to rebuild and be competitive, is different than being drafted by a team that is expected to win. That creates a different kind of goal for players. And McGuire has that in mind.
“It definitely adds fuel to the fire. Absolutely. There’s a lot of support and hope that we can make it a winning team,” he said. “I just want to be an impact player.”