Reese McGuire and Elias Diaz Rank Among the Top Catching Prospects

MLB Pipeline released their list of the top ten catching prospects on Thursday night and both Reese McGuire and Elias Diaz made the list. McGuire came in fourth overall, while Diaz finished two spots below him. Earlier this week, MLB Pipeline named McGuire the top defensive catcher among minor league prospects, edging out Diaz.

Besides the plus defense from both catchers, they each got some praise for their offense. Pipeline said that McGuire showed improvements during the AFL, making consistent contact and showing gap power, while Diaz should at least be an average hitter according to scouts. Both players have strong enough defense that they will still make the majors if their bats don’t reach their ceiling, and they could still be solid regulars. The upside for McGuire would be a little higher due to their difference in age.

On Tuesday, Tyler Glasnow was named the second best right-handed pitching prospect. No one from the Pirates made the top left-handed pitching prospect list on Wednesday.

  • I hope they try and sign Cervelli to an extension. With Stewart signed for 2 years they have a decent back-up catcher. The Pirates rated Cervelli as plus 24 games last year. He save’s the Pirates money on pitchers also. As part of the Pirate strategy they realize you greatly lower an opponents BA when facing 1-2 count vrs a 2-1 count. With his pitch framing he gives pitchers an extra edge. He’s fun to watch. He’s becoming a fan favorite. It seems they need to consider trading Diaz for an infielder or pitching prospect. That’s because I think Diaz should have tons of value. They’ve clocked his throws to 2nd at over 100MPH. Trade him to team that has more of an approach of stopping the running game.

  • Both Diaz and McGuire will be defined by how well they can do behind the plate. I’m frankly more intrigued by Diaz right now than McGuire.

  • I think, with all prospects, nothing is safe…but with a nice backup for possibly 3 years, the Buccos have set themselves up nicely at this position and also the OF with hopefully enough prospects that a few stick to the wall over the next 7-10 years between all the options.

    The other positions in the field…much more uncertainty and outlook. Such is the wild world of baseball on who develops, who falters, and how drafting fast risers can change things in a heartbeat…or maybe we just sign Rizzo and Donaldson when their contracts are up…lol…right???

  • If you start looking at details on the other catchers in that ” Top 10 ” you will find that 8 of them aren’t close to MLB ready defensively. The top rated catcher, Wilson Contreras, is a poor defensive catcher who is listed as a catcher/third baseman, by the Cubs ( of course ) further proof of the now maddening love for all players in that organization.

  • John fails to mention that Contreras, the Cubs catcher, is #1. 🙂

  • Cervelli is a pretty good catcher. Let’s not be too quick to show him the door. He’s done it, and done it well — at least for a year. Diaz and McGuire have yet to show anything in the bigs. They are promising but many who are promising wash out in the bigs.

  • Bats will be the deciding factor – Diaz did not impress in Venezuela winter league

  • Very excited about both of these guys and interested to see how it plays out (if they both develop) as they’re only separated by 2-3 years.

    Curious to see if the team extends Cervelli and packages Diaz as it hopes that Reese’s bat comes around…

    • Makes more sense to QO- Cervelli (assuming he has a good year) which he will decline- which banks a #1 pick, then Diaz has about 2-3 years to perform well and then can be flipped for a much better package when Reese is ready, or they can platoon. This is the best scenario and what the Pirates are likely thinking

      • Certainly the least risk in that method (compared to moving Reese or Diaz and banking on the other+Cervelli to maintain current production levels).

        Though they could try to flip Reese sooner for a decent package while also just QO-ing Cervelli. Not that i think thats a likely option, but they could net a draft pick+an interesting return while still having Diaz to start for 3 years at least. Enough time to draft/find a suitable replacement. That’d have more risk since it means Diaz cant really regress a ton on offense or its all defense at C.

        • Agreed. I kinda like the ability for Reese to come in and platoon and win the job through performance over a year or two given that he’s a lefty hitter and Diaz is a righty and they’d both be superb on defense. A more athletic version of spanky and sluggo…..oh the days!

          • They would, together, seem a good pair. That would likely depend on Diaz hitting semi-well (to avoid 2 pure defense C) but the idea of Diaz in year 2-3 with Reese showing up to back him up for a bit is fun to hope on.

      • I’m going to have to pass on giving a 31 year old catcher a $13M raise.

        • My sentiments exactly. If we offer a QO which may be as high as $17 mil, I will be absolutely amazed if he turns it down. I think that would put him up there in the Top 5 of all MLB Catchers – Posey will make $21 mil, Martin will make $20 mil, Wieters will probably be around $18-20 mil, and McCann will be at $17 mil. Good to excellent Catchers who have big power bats.

        • Cervelli will decline the QO because he is 31, that is the point.

    • Their handling of C will be interesting. Lotta options, particularly this year if Reese shows some offensive upside.

      • I like his stance, his swing, his focus at the plate- I’m not sure why he hasn’t shown any pop, I wonder if NMR has ideas because i know nothing about swings

        • I’ve looked into as much tape as possible and his reports (what reports exist that is). Bit of a longer conversation but the short version for me is, I currently have faith he has the ability to hit enough to be a ML starter in time. That relies on him gaining a bit of strength in his physical build allowing more line drive power, but at his age thats not insane to think of.

          Like the approach, like his all fields ability, his swing isnt totally crazy (such as a big hitch, really slow hands, etc).

        • Classic linear swing, to my eye. Throws his hands straight down at the ball. Won’t have the leverage or attack angle for any sort of power development without changing.

          Also would appear to have issues with discipline. His swing isn’t at all geared for power, but a low BABIP and an almost literal complete lack of extra base hits certainly means poor contact quality. Couple that with a sub-6% walk rate through A-ball and you have an awful lot of evidence of him swinging at anything he can put in play, rather than pitches he can drive.

    • over 4 years difference.

    • Almost four year difference.

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