Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #7 – Reese McGuire

The Pirates Prospects 2014 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2014 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find.  While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks.  Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Michael De La Cruz, OF
19. JaCoby Jones, OF
18. Barrett Barnes, OF
17. Cody Dickson, LHP
16. Blake Taylor, LHP
15. Joely Rodriguez, LHP
14. Andrew Lambo, OF
13. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP
12. Clay Holmes, RHP
11. Tony Sanchez, C
10. Harold Ramirez, OF
9. Luis Heredia, RHP
8. Josh Bell, OF

We continue the countdown with the number 7 prospect, Reese McGuire.

Reese McGuire lived up to his defensive hype in his debut, while also showing some offensive potential.
Reese McGuire lived up to his defensive hype in his debut, while also showing some offensive potential.

7. Reese McGuire, C

The Pirates were linked to Reese McGuire with their first pick leading up to the 2013 draft. The catcher wasn’t projected to make it to their second pick, but was rated slightly lower than the first selection. When Austin Meadows fell to ninth overall, the Pirates opted to take the outfielder, hoping McGuire would be there with the 14th pick. They lucked out, as he fell to them, giving them two of the best prep position players in the draft.

Most high school catchers have problems sticking behind the plate over the long-run due to their body or lack of defensive skills. That’s not the case with McGuire. He profiles as a future Gold Glove defender behind the plate, with a ton of great tools to work with. He’s a great receiver who blocks well, and has a plus arm.

His throwing skills were on display this year, throwing out 44% of the 41 stolen base attempts he saw in his pro debut. McGuire has quick feet and no wasted movement going from the crouch to the throw. He also is very accurate, firing most of his throws low and to the glove on the second base side of the bag, in perfect position for the second baseman to catch and make the tag at the same time.

The big question about McGuire’s game is whether he can hit enough to be a starter. Opinions on his hitting abilities were split on draft day. Some felt he could hit enough to be an All-Star catcher, while others felt he won’t hit enough to be more than a defense first starter in the majors. The Pirates saw the value of a strong defensive catcher in 2013 with Russell Martin, so having a prospect who profiles as a future Gold Glove caliber defender isn’t a bad thing, especially if McGuire does end up hitting.

To his credit, McGuire got off to a great start in his pro career. He showed great plate patience, making solid contact and driving balls to the gaps on both sides of the field. He started off with impressive power, but the power disappeared after the first few weeks. He was still making solid contact with the ball, and using the middle of the field, which maintained his high average. If he can continue those trends going forward, he should have no problem being a two-way catcher. McGuire should spend the 2014 season in West Virginia, getting used to catching a full professional-length season behind the plate.

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  • CalipariFan506
    January 23, 2014 6:29 pm

    Nothing else better than a catcher who already is advanced defensively. Barring injury he should end up having the floor of an average mlb starter.

  • Does the Pirates Prospects 2014 Prospect Guide list the players’ ages along with their profiles? I might need to buy that balls balls soon.

  • Didn’t want McGuire at 9, felt it was reaching a bit, but loved him at 14. Especially after getting Meadows at 9. What an awesome first round of the draft the Bucs had last year.

  • I am really excited about McGuire. He has a ton of tools and such a high ceiling too. West Virginia is going to be ridiculously loaded this year

  • This is a day late, but Mayo ranks Josh Bell as his 11 best outfield prospect: http://minors.mlblogs.com/

  • I am cautiously optimistic.

    Lots can happen between now and his MLB debut.