With the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor-league system about to get Baseball America’s blessing as the best in the business, it’s natural that several Bucco prospects would be considered among the elite at their positions.
As we told you earlier this week, right-handed pitchers Jameson Taillon (No. 5) and Tyler Glasnow (honorable mention) were rated highly in MLB.com’s minor-league position rankings, demonstrating the Pirates’ depth on the mound.
Thursday brought another complimentary mention for a Pittsburgh hopeful, as 2013 first-round draft pick Reese McGuire was listed as the seventh-best catching prospect in minor-league baseball by MLB.com.
McGuire, a soon-to-be 19-year-old from Washington state, was the 14th overall selection last June. The lefty-hitting McGuire terrorized the Gulf Coast League after signing his first pro contract, turning in a .330 batting average and a .380 on-base percentage in 46 games for the Pirates’ rookie level team in Bradenton, Fla.
That early success led to a promotion to Jamestown (N.Y.) of the short-season New York-Penn League. McGuire played just four games for the Jammers before the season ended, but his quick adjustment to pro ball bodes well for his continued development.
Of course, defense is a high priority for a catcher. According to MLB.com’s overview, McGuire projects as an “above-average defender with a strong arm.” On the traditional scouting scale that runs from 20 to 80, McGuire gets a 65 for arm strength – his best tool in this evaluation.
Overall, McGuire rates as a 55, with defending (60) and hitting for average (55) also standing out. Mets prospect Travis d’Arnaud gets top billing on this list, with Austin Hedges (Padres), Jorge Alfaro (Rangers), Gary Sanchez (Yankees) and Blake Swihart (Red Sox) rounding out the top five.
MLB.com will continue to roll out its positional rankings into the middle of next week, leading into the unveiling of its overall top 100 prospects Thursday, Jan. 23.