The GCL Pirates beat the GCL Blue Jays 9-8 today in a game that featured 28 hits, including 12 extra base hits. Today was the first time I had a chance to see first round pick Austin Meadows and 14th round pick Nick Buckner. I’ve got thoughts on those two players below, along with thoughts on first rounder Reese McGuire, who I’ve seen several times now.
Meadows went 1-for-4 on the day with a single. He just missed his first home run in his final at-bat, crushing one over the tall right-field fence that was just foul by a few feet. He showed some speed down the line to first base, and was able to reach after a swinging strikeout on a breaking ball that got past the catcher. Meadows had two strikeouts on the day, and one of them came against a lefty with good breaking stuff. That was the at-bat where he reached after swinging at the breaking ball, although that came after striking out on three pitches.
There were a lot of balls hit to the gap in right-center field today, which gave Meadows and Nick Buckner a workout constantly running to the deepest part of the park. Meadows got most of the throws, and showed off a good arm. The fields at Pirate City are deep, and Meadows was making strong throws back to the infield from around 400 feet out.
Buckner went 1-for-3 with a walk today. He also showed off a good arm, getting a lot of chances to throw back to the infield with a runner stretching from a double to a triple (the Blue Jays had seven triples on the day, although at Pirate City it is usually a single or a triple, depending on whether it gets past the outfielders). His one hit was a ground ball through the hole on the right side of the infield. There wasn’t much to say about him since I only saw four at-bats, and his day was pretty uneventful.
Unlike Meadows and Buckner, I’ve seen McGuire four times now. In every game I’ve seen him he’s done the same thing: make hard contact. He did that today, getting three hits, and also having a hard hit line drive right to the center fielder. One of McGuire’s hits can be seen below.
I’ve seen two stolen base attempts against McGuire, and he gunned both guys down with perfect throws, including one today. There was one play where he showed that he’s raw. With a runner at third, a chopper was hit to the pitcher, who threw home. It wasn’t a force play, so McGuire had to make a tag. He did, but didn’t think immediately to throw down to first. He would have had the double play if he would have made the immediate throw. After the inning, Danny Arribas was talking with him about the play. It’s not a huge deal. It’s actually pretty common to see that stuff in the GCL, which is a league filled with 17-19 year olds.
Overall McGuire has been impressive, and there hasn’t been much to complain about at all.
**Rinku Singh has been shut down again in his rehab. This is the third time he has been shut down. He will have an MRI on his elbow today to determine if he needs surgery. The lefty won’t be able to pitch this year either way, so the focus is now on getting healthy for next season.
**Jared Hughes will make a rehab start tomorrow for the GCL Pirates. Hughes will likely pitch one inning, which is standard for relievers in rehab work. Jon Sandfort will follow Hughes for his regular start.
**2013 2nd round pick Blake Taylor will make his pro debut on Saturday. The time between his signing and his start is very similar to the timing between Jon Sandfort’s signing and his debut last year. If we use that same time frame for other prep pitchers, that would put Neil Kozikowski’s debut about a week away, and Billy Roth’s debut two weeks away. Roth threw a 25 pitch bullpen session today, throwing all fastballs and changeups.