Up next on our list at No. 7 is a durable first round draft pick who could move through the Jays’ minor league system very quickly…
#7: William Deck McGuire
Pitcher / 21 years old / 6′6″ 235 lbs
Born: June 23, 1989 in Richmond, Virginia
Bats: Right Throws: Right
High School: Deep Run H.S.
College: Georgia Tech
Drafted By: The Toronto Blue Jays in the 1st round (11th overall) of the 2010 amateur entry draft
Signed: August 17th, 2010 for a bonus of $2 million
- 2009 First Team All-America (Collegiate Baseball)
- Second Team All-America (Baseball America)
- 2009 ACC Pitcher of the Year
- 2009 All-ACC (First Team)
- 2008 First Team Freshman All-America (Collegiate Baseball)
- 2008 Second Team Freshman All-America (NCBWA)
- Majored in management at Georgia Tech
- Played four years of football in high school as a quarterback
Extra information and previous experience:
After pitching well in his first season at Georgia Tech in 2008, Deck McGuire started to make a name for himself in 2009 when he continued to pitch well. His .917 win percentage (11-2 record) that season tied for ninth in Georgia Tech history, and he held opponents to a .232 batting average. He compiled a whopping 118 strikeouts in 100.1 innings (16 starts, 10.6 K/9), including a career-high 13 on opening day when he allowed just three hits through 7.0 innings of work. McGuire was even more impressive the following year in 2010, when he logged 12 more innings than he did in 2009 and matched his 118 strikeouts over the year before. His 2.96 ERA and 33 walks in 2010 were also lower than what he put up in 2009.
The main concern with McGuire and his college numbers would be the amount of fly balls allowed, most of which ended as outs, but more ended as home runs as McGuire probably would have liked. He allowed 8 home runs in 2008 and 2009 before giving up 13 in 2010, so that should be something the Blue Jays will address once McGuire starts playing professionally.
The Jays certainly did their homework on McGuire, though – getting roughly 10+ looks at him by at least a dozen different sets of eyes – and this was definitely one of the prospects where the Jays benefited from Alex Anthopoulos’ immense scouting staff. The decision to select McGuire, though, was fairly straight forward, according to Blue Jays director of amateur scouting Andrew Tinnish.
“The advantage that we had this year was with all the extra bodies and the extra looks, just having that extra information is, almost, a little bit more peace of mind when you need to make a decision like this.”
“Everybody had strong feelings for this player. There was a comfort level across the board from our entire group, from the front office, to our cross checkers — national and regional — to our area scout. Just all the way through.”
“We’ve probably seen at least a dozen starts — certainly double digits,” Tinnish said. “The one thing that was glaring for me, looking at our reports, was it was consistent across the board. We have very consistent grades on his fastball velocity, on his fastball command and his movement, and the quality of his slider.”
The Jays had to take almost every minute of the signing process to sign McGuire, the 11th overall pick of the 2010 draft. The team ultimately came to an agreement with McGuire’s camp on a $2 million, $209,000 above-slot bonus at around 11:59 p.m. on the signing deadline.
At the time of the draft, some analysts thought McGuire was a lock to be taken sixth overall by the Diamondbacks, because he was considered the safest pick in the draft when it came to immediate impact to an organization.
This is because he does not exactlyhave a true plus or outstanding pitch, but he boasts a well developed, four pitch repertoire with the ability to throw each of those pitches for strikes. He can throw his 91-94 mph fastball to both sides of the plate, but sometimes lacks confidence when throwing it. His out pitch would be his slider that typically touches 83-85 mph with good, late action on it and a sharp break. Like his fastball, McGuire has the ability to throw it to both sides of the plate, sneaking it into the zone deceptively against left-handed hitters and having the ability to backdoor it against right-handed hitters. He shows a lot of confidence in his slider, but he has good arm speed on his 81-84 mph changeup that is camouflaged well when coming out of his hand. Considered his least polished pitch, McGuire’s curveball velocity improved significantly and he can still throw it for strikes, but improving that pitch will likely be a focus by Jays coaches this year.
Physically, McGuire has a large, durable frame with room to add some weight, specifically in his legs. Some feel McGuire’s upper body is already as developed as it could be, but Tinnish feels that McGuire has room to gain 15 pounds of muscle. His frame should allow him to routinely go deep into starts and eat innings for years to come, and some have compared McGuire physically and mechanically to Aaron Harang of the Cincinnati Reds.
Expected 2011 Team: Lansing Lugnuts
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: #3 starter
Baseball America was recently asked who was the better pitcher out of McGuire, Noah Syndergaard, Asher Wojciechowski, and Aaron Sanchez. They concluded that in terms of potential and upside, McGuire would rank last if the rankings were based on the pitchers as finished products at the Major League level. In terms of talent from a developmental standpoint, McGuire ranked first as being the farthest along and having the most polish.
With McGuire’s advanced polish on his repertoire, the Jays could even have him start out the year with Hi-A Dunedin, with a conservative approach on where he opens 2011 being our opinion on Class-A Lansing.
Regardless of where he opens the season, McGuire’s work ethic and attention to detail, combined with his stuff should allow him to move up the Jays’ minor league system very quickly and it will definitely be exciting to keep tabs on him in 2011 and beyond.