Top 50 Jays Prospects, Jays Journal Edition: #7 Deck McGuire

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…

Image courtesy of Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

#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

Quick Facts:

  • 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

Career Statistics:

Year Age Level W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 K/9
2008 19 NCAA 8 1 3.46 17 13 78.0 70 30 8 32 70 1.31 8.1 3.7 8.1
2009 20 NCAA 11 2 3.50 16 16 100.1 86 51 8 41 118 1.27 7.7 3.7 10.6
2010 21 NCAA 9 4 2.96 16 16 112.2 94 44 13 33 118 1.13 7.5 2.6 9.4



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.


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Tags: Deck McGuire Georgia Tech Toronto Blue Jays William Deck McGuire

  • Tarun

    In my mind this was AA’s only real mistake in his GM Career. When Josh Sale was available we instead chose a high floor-mid ceiling player. Dont get me wrong I like Deck McGuire just as much as the next guy but we still have high ceiling guys such as Syndegard, Sanchez, Stewart and possibly Alverez with an already crowded YOUNG rotation. Where exactly is room for Deck McGuire?

    If you were John Farrell and you had 1 spot left in a very good rotation would you really give it to Deck over any of the others mentioned. I dont mean to sound critical but Im not a huge fan of pitchers without at least one outstanding pitch. Control and command are important but without a true out pitch its only a matter of time till MLB Hitters figure you out. Probably why I’m not a huge fan of Brett Cecil going forward as well.

    Love the Top 50 though. Maybe the best prospect list I’ve seen in 7 years of following Minor League Baseball.

  • Mat Germain

    I was screaming for the Jays to grab Chris Sale, so I have to agree with you for now Tarun that Deck may not have been the best pick. But, we should give Deck a chance to prove himself first before we call it a mistake by Alex. Going for a “safe” pick has its merits when you’re going to grab such high ceiling- but risky – prep arms in the sandwich as Sanchez and Syndergaard.

  • monkeyman

    Ok, enough with this “low upside” stuff. The kid is 21. Seems to me i remember another 6’6” 21 year old that after a glimse of greatness got hit around pretty good when he wasn’t on because his 92-95mph fastball lacked movement. Even Kyle Drabek a year ago was mentioned by many as having a #3 Starter ceiling. A couple MPH and a great season later and he’s now thought of as a 1-2.

    ALL of these projections, and I mean ALL need to be thought of as very fluid. For the kid to have the actual success he did in the tough SEC is very impressive. Maybe a small change in arm angle and dedication to working out (again like someone else i remember looking similar at 21) will make Deck a Superstar. I say lets see what he does in his first 2 pro seasons and then we’ll determine his MLB ceiling.

    • lolwut

      I agree with this.

      I mean come on, he has a higher ceiling than #3 starter. Command is more important than just having “good stuff”. McGuire has command he has 3-4 pitches he can throw for strikes and having good command can improve his stuff over time.

      I don’t think he is as bad of a pick as some think and in my opinion, he could be a future #2 starter if he puts it together. I would still prefer either Sale though.

      • AtomicFrog

        I think you are really confused about “good stuff” and “good command”. Having one does not improve the other over any period of time. A pitcher’s stuff is like e.g. how much movement the fastball has. Being able to locate or “command” that pitch has nothing to do with how much movement that pitch has.

        Great stuff + Great command = Great pitcher. But these 2 are 2 totally different things. Having 1 does not mean you have the other.

        McG is a “safe” pick, that is all it really is. AA needs to balance out his draft game plan with “safe” pick and the highest ceiling guy. Hence you will hear scout said that the Jays have great athlete in their system, if they can handle the bat (that is the upside), they will be good major leaguer. Therefore, ranking them higher than a lower ceiling guy

  • Mylegacy

    I literally almost cried when we drafted him – I was (and still am) pissed off! I wanted either Choice or Josh Sale (the HS OFer) – Choice was gone and I was cheering telling my wife (she who could give a f*ck about baseball) “We’re gonna get Josh, we’re gonna get Josh.”

    And then my world ended and they took Deck (no offense Deck) (The ONLY one of the top 50 or so prospects I DREADED us taking) – I have NEVER read any comments on the guy that don’t basically say – “For a fat guy he doesn’t sweat much.” In other words – they mention what he has and EVERY ARTICLE then goes on and on about how limited he is. Asher, Sanchez, Snydergaard even Griffin I’d have been happier to see as our fist pick.

    I still dream of Josh Sale. I hope Deck turns into Roy Halladay and I have to eat every bad thing I’ve said about him – and every bad thought I’ve had about him. BUT – I can’t help it – I just don’t see the guy AT ALL!

    Time for a scotch!

  • Jack

    I remember Anthopolous himself said that Deck projects as a middle of the order starter, but thats not a bad thing. That said, I wanted Sale too, and it certainly looks like we might have missed the boat there…

  • Eric

    He was expected to go in the top ten. We get him at 11 and people are complaining.

  • Rick

    For all of you Josh Sale fans it is obvious no one has read a scouting report, Josh has outstanding stuff but horrible mechanics and is pegged as a future closer. Deck is a horse who will be a solid performer in the Majors when Josh Sale is recovering from TJ surgery and working out of the bull pen.

  • Neddy

    the jays are such a great young team especially thriughout the farm system, they have alot of good players, however i did research on this very talented underrated prospect in the jays system i believe his name is montaous walton here is a link i found on the verge or during his signing

    i think he will be fine for them

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