With all of the negatives we can point to when it comes to the beginning of the season in the Jays minors, there were in fact 2 performances that stood out above all others abd provide us with some good news. As someone already aptly pointed out, Deck McGuire was left off the list of minor league players reviews for the first game of 2011. There’s a very good reason for that, as we wanted to highlight the efforts of both the best pitcher and the best hitter of the day.
Blue Jays Minors Pitcher of the Day: Deck McGuire
The top Jays pick from the 2010 draft, we recently ranked Deck McGuire as the 7th best Jays Prospect on our top 50 list, and we may have short-changed him a little if his first outing is any indication of what he’s capable of. Here are the stats of his first outing (although he didn’t start the game in question):
Talk about making a statement right from the beginning. The Jays already pushed him as hard as they can be expected to push him by having him make his pro debut in HiA, but he could very well earn a promotion to AA in quick order if he keeps this kind of performance up.
Craig Durham wrote this about his outing (with his full article available here):
“Entering the game in the top of the 5th inning, trailing 7-0, rookie Deck McGuire showed the electrifying stuff that led to his being taken with the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft. The 6’6” right-hander scattered 3 hits over 4 innings of work and kept the Thresher’s bats quiet through the middle innings. Mixing up his hard fastball and sharp breaking ball, McGuire struck out 5 in what was a very impressive professional debut.”
That’s very nice to see and here, and I hope that both Chad and Asher follow in his footsteps soon.
Blue Jays Minors Hitter of the Day: Michael McDade
He is here not because he had a massive day at the plate. In fact, no Jays minor league hitter did! But, he did earn a promotion to AA, so I wanted to highlight his first performance at the level. I have been known to be a big McDade endorser for a very long time, so maybe I’m making a mountain out of an ant hill here, but I was very encouraged to see him do well right off the bat in 2011 as he made his AA debut for NH. Hitting in what should be a much better lineup than he was a part of in Dunedin in 2010, I expect big things from the big 1B in 2011.
McDade not only had 2 of the 4 hits the Fishercats managed against some very effective pitching, but he also hit 5th in the lineup. I think that hitting there is something that I think will help him ease in to hitting in the middle of the lineup without feeling too much pressure and will increase his chances of driving in runs. At only 21 years old in AA (he turns 22 in May), he can impress the many doubters if he begins to make some important changes in his approach at the plate. The key to his season will be whether he can cut down on the strike outs (he had 141 last season), but Eric Thames showed us that even with the strike outs, you can still do very well overall.
We ranked McDade 28th in our Top 50 for many different reasons. But, with a cut of at least 20-30 strike outs on the season and being a little more patient at the plate, and adding some to his power numbers in a better lineup (I expect 25+ DBs and HRs), he could climb the rankings quickly enough.
It’s a great start for both of these Jays minors players and I hope that they can build on a quick start to garner big years for themselves and the Jays organization.