Reese McGuire Named Top Defensive Catching Prospect

On MLB Pipeline on Monday, they ranked the best defensive prospects at each position in the minors. Reese McGuire got the nod for catchers. It’s unknown exactly what they consider a good enough prospect for this list, but there are a few prospects listed who aren’t top 100 prospects in the game. The list was made up of a poll of various general managers, scouting directors and executives, as well as the opinions of the people at MLB Pipeline.

Back in October, Baseball America named Elias Diaz as the best defensive catcher in all of the minors. At this point he is more advanced than McGuire behind the plate, but Diaz is also 4 1/2 years older than McGuire and wasn’t as advanced behind the plate at the same age.

Regardless if Diaz was considered a good enough prospect for the MLB Pipeline list, the two lists show that the Pirates have two of the best defensive catchers in the minors. Assuming McGuire starts the year at Altoona, that also means they will have those catchers starting at the top two level of their minor league system.

Update 12:52pm: Jonathan Mayo just let me know that McGuire was in fact rated ahead of Diaz, though the latter drew consideration for the top spot. Says a lot for the Pirates’ ability to find great defensive catchers. It should also be pointed out that Jacob Stallings, who will be at either Indianapolis or Altoona, is a terrific defensive catcher as well, he just doesn’t have the offensive potential to qualify as a prospect. His defense could get him to the majors as a backup though.


  • They’ve come so far since Rod Barajas’ 6 for 99 in 2012. It’s not a total coincidence they got better immediately after making catching defense and framing a huge priority.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      January 19, 2016 1:52 pm

      That was historically bad, but our 22% rate last year wasn’t very good either and was near the bottom of all of MLB. Just pathetic. And, there Diaz sits….

      • Yeah, he won’t be kept down for long. If Cervelli regresses to a .260 hitter and Stewart to a .220 guy an injury might be the best thing to happen to the Pirates in 2016. I think Cervelli will throw a little better in 2016 although 22% is his career average. If you take into account Cervelli’s framing and hitting in 2015 I don’t know how you can complain BFSMD. Pirates catchers overall were at the top of framing and got on base 193 times. I’ll take the 23% throw out rate any day with all those offensive numbers. Cervelli was 22%, Stewart was at 24%, and Tony Sanchez somehow was 1-3. League average is 28% so I wouldn’t call them pathetic. 43-187 is what they were. 22.9%

        • It can’t be one or the other. The throwing has nothing to do with the talent of the players and everything to do with the poor attention to detail regarding the running game. Ivan Rodriguez in his prime would have only been around 30% last year

          • So you are blaming the results of two guys who threw almost dead on their career averages on their pitchers and the coaching staff. Martin threw just fine…because he can throw…and so will Diaz.

            • It’s not me “blaming” anything- this is a topic that has gotten so much print in the last 6 months that I couldn’t even claim something that I actually think as an original thought at this point. Tim can back me up here, it’s well documented that situationally, we decided we didn’t care about holding runners on last year.

              • It was even worse in the Barajas year…it went all the way through the minors. There is probably some metric they are looking at that they think is more important. I don’t know. It’s a bizarre thing. Catchers and pitchers that hold runners and throw well put so much pressure back on offenses…especially post steroid era. When you know you probably can’t get that extra base it makes managers do things like bunt a runner from 2B to 3B with less than two outs…oh wait, that was hurdle.

                • It still goes all the way through the minors because we don’t teach our kids anything about runner control until AAA. I had more focus on it in high school for godsake. In this day and age you can’t give away bases, period. If you have pitchers who can’t throw quality strikes because they can’t multi-task with runners on base, you either need new coaches or new players. There really is nothing else to say here. There is about 7 ways you can control the running game. 1. pitchouts 2. varying time at the pause at the waist for the pitcher 3. throwing over 4. stepping off 5. a slidestep 6. simplifying deliveries, pausing at the stretch at a higher point for example 7. having catchers throwing behind runners more – that we are just too lazy or too stupid to realize that letting a single or walk turning into a double is a bad thing, is about the biggest face palm in history. It’s like intentionally having your big slow power hitter work on hitting ground balls.

                  • Agreed, if you don’t have a good move or are slow to first for whatever reason you still have to do things to at least make the runner uncomfortable…or work a little.

            • One thing I’ll throw in here- and this is pure speculation- is that maybe the Pirates decided this past year to focus even less on holding runners on because of a lack of confidence in the ability for Cervelli to throw out a high rate, and knowing how great Martin was at that skill, they maybe focused more on maximizing the returns from it. Again, just a thought I had mentioned during the season

      • By no means am I an expert, but it always seems to me like a lot of that number should fall on the pitchers. Just seems like as an organization we don’t place much emphasis on holding runners or being quick to the plate.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 19, 2016 11:13 am

    Yet, we re-sign Stewart for 2 more years, with optional third year…go figure….

    • Weird how teams dont assume the 20 year old will be ML ready in 2 years.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        January 19, 2016 1:49 pm

        Duh, Diaz is 24-25??

        • How many catcher on a roster? 2? Ah gotcha.

          • BuccosFanStuckinMD
            January 19, 2016 4:39 pm

            Obviously, the point went right over your head….if you don’t have an intelligent response to make to one of my posts, please resist the temptation to post stupid nonsense. It makes you come across as a junior high or middle school kid….

            • Personal insults aside, you are also free to ignore my beneath you replies.

              Yes, i did poke fun at ya for the idea that Stewart somehow is a dumb sign because of Reese. Not really something thats high school ish, any more than your original post came off as pure random.

              To the point, Chris Stewart and his 1.5 million per year extension doesnt stop Diaz or anyone from being above him in 2-3 years.

              • He didn’t actually make any personal insults if you read more carefully.

                • Insinuating i dont have an intelligent response, followed by saying i shouldnt post stupid nonsense, and that he feels i came across as a junior high kid.

                  It really doesnt bother me on the internet, but as a fact thats personal insults. But no, he didnt literally say “hey you, you are stupid” just that my responses and posts are to him. Bummer.

                  • No, a personal insult is when someone attacks you personally, not what you are presenting. It is not a person insult to tell a cook that his food is poorly cooked, it is a personal insult when you tell the cook that he is an awful person. This is not something open to conjecture, it is actually the definition of what a “personal insult” is. It is an insult, but it is not personal in nature, i guess thats the line. I like you. You make this place far more interesting and I appreciate your point of view if that matters as all, even though I rarely agree with it.

  • While I still have doubts about Reese’s offense, there never has been any doubt about his defense.

    However, I still wished we had drafted JP Crawford, instead. We are weak at SS, yet twice we passed on promising SS prospects (Machado and Crawford).

    I sure hope Reese and Taillon make me forget all about those two.

    • Theodore in three years you will forgot you made those remarks just as in two years you will be yelling to extend Hanson.

    • I thought Crawford was a better choice before the draft. In my own personal rankings, I had him ranked 10th and McGuire 13th, with Dominic Smith and Braden Shipley in between. So while I thought McGuire was a solid pick in the 14th spot, both Crawford and Shipley were still on the board. Once I saw Crawford and McGuire play in person though(just weeks apart), there was a night and day difference. Crawford looked like a man among boys on the field, yet he was the youngest one out there. McGuire looked over-matched at times at the plate, solid on defense, but mostly potential and not production.

      • That comment you made to me a while back about McGuire being a target of theirs early on in that draft cycle still really sucks out…hopefully not a sign of poor process.

        • The same can be said for Tucker and Newman. Both players indicated they were very high on them going into their last amateur season and stayed in touch all season. McGuire was targeted all season to the point I thought they might take him 9th despite Meadows being available. They just happened to get both

          • Man do I hate when you make smart connections like that when they expose poor habits…

            Clean house already.

    • And then we draft a dud in Newman.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        January 19, 2016 1:50 pm

        Agreed, I hope I am wrong about both, but I don’t have great expectations for Tucker or Newman…

        • Neither do I- to me they drafted the right position in the wrong year- you don’t pass up top ten draft talent at shortstop when you have 2 picks in the first 13 of the draft, it’s pretty unexcusable.

    • If you guys dig up every article written pre-draft that year on this site, I was screaming how we needed to draft a shortstop and how we should draft JP crawford pretty much every single day. Literally every single day.

  • Tim and John,

    While I sometimes have disagreements with the analysis here I just wanted to note that the coverage this offseason has been tremendous. A lot of quality nuggets and information during a slow period of the year. I have really enjoyed it. Thanks.