The Toronto Blue Jays selected Deck McGuire with the eleventh overall pick in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The 6’6, 220lb right-handed starting pitcher was a three year starter for Georgia Tech University. Baseball America has McGuire listed as the Blue Jays number two prospect this year. They also stated that he possessed the organizations best slider which caught me by surprise.
The general consensus amongst scouts is that McGuire is a low-ceiling prospect that projects to be an innings eating middle of the rotation starter. Many scouts also believe that he won’t need very long in the minors before he’s able to contribute on that level in the show. Perhaps the most encouraging common opinion is that the likelihood of him reaching that potential is thought to be very high.
Last month I had the opportunity to watch the highly touted prospect Deck McGuire pitch in Lakeland against the Flying Tigers. McGuire tossed 5 2/3 innings of scoreless ball and recorded the win. He allowed 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out four.
This season, the soon-to-be 22 year-old is 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 9 starts with the Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays. In 53 1/3 innings he has held opposing batters to a .215 average. Deck has issued 21 free passes while recording 46 strikeouts.
The stats are impressive, McGuire has definitely started his professional baseball career off on the right foot.
Deck McGuire throws from a 3/4 arm slot. The delivery seems to be accomplished with minimal effort and the ball appears to come out pretty easily. McGuire also appears to hide the ball pretty well making things difficult for the opposition.
McGuire throws both 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs. He commands both pitches very well but they seemed to lack a tremendous amount of movement. While I did observe his fastball as high as 94mph, he sat regularly between 89mph and 92mph. McGuire also features a decent mid 80′s slider that seems to be his strikeout pitch. His best breaking pitch is said to be his low-80s change-up. He also features a complementary low 70s sweeping curveball. While I only witnessed a few, I agree that it’s fringy at best.
His entire arsenal rates pretty solid–considering his age–and already features three MLB ready pitches. His ability to mix and command his pitches was pretty impressive.
Pitchers are rarely safe bets, but McGuire seems to be about as safe as they get. In a nutshell McGuire is a poised, durable righty who knows how to approach hitters. He has no problem throwing strikes and already features a deep repertoire.
Some Blue Jays fans may have been disappointed with the selection due to his lower ceiling. I understand the philosophy of going for the “sure thing” though and I like the selection. The projection of a quality middle of the rotation starter definitely seem easily obtainable for McGuire and at $2MM, the signing bonus seems reasonable. He seemed as advertised to me and I look forward to tracking his progress.
Keep an eye on Deck McGuire as he continues down his road to the show.
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