Baseball America posted their best tools from the Florida State League and two players from Bradenton were recognized for their skills. Austin Meadows was named for the best strike zone judgement, while Reese McGuire picked up the best defensive catcher honors. The voting was done by managers and coaches in the FSL.
Meadows was hitting lead-off to begin this year to make up for the at-bats he lost last year due to his hamstring injury. He has been hitting second more often recently and had much more success in that role. He has 38 walks and 64 strikeouts this season, to go along with a .766 OPS that ranks him sixth in the FSL. Meadows is eighth in on base percentage and he leads the league with 130 hits.
This is the second year in a row that McGuire has been named the best defensive catcher in his league. He was the best as a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League last year and moving up a level, his defense has remained top notch. McGuire has thrown out 28% of base runners, allowed five passed balls and each of the last two seasons, he’s posted a .987 fielding percentage. It’s his quickness behind the plate and ability to work with pitchers that gets him recognized.
McGuire has always been advanced behind the plate for his age, but it’s his bat that could hold him back. He will make the majors someday based on defense alone, but his upside could range from being a Chris Stewart-type, to a perennial All-Star. McGuire makes consistent contact and hits his share of line drives now, he just doesn’t hit for any power and has trouble against left-handed pitchers. Just like Meadows, McGuire is one of the youngest players in the league.
In the past, Baseball America has released both the High-A and Low-A tools articles on the same day. If the Low-A is posted today, we will update this article.