Results tagged ‘ Reese McGuire ’

Prospect Roundup: Games of April 21

MiLB.com game stories:

Reds OF Donald Lutz hits for cycle, RHP Robert Stephenson effective

Braves 1B Jake Schrader belts two homers after foul to the face

Red Sox 1B Travis Shaw homers, helps in triple play

Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks spins six shutout frames

Indians 2B/SS Jose Ramirez delivers first multi-homer game

Brewers RHP Jimmy Nelson strikes out nine over seven scoreless

Rangers RHP Luke Jackson nearly spotless for RoughRiders

Dodgers OF Scott Schebler belts 18th-inning homer

Other top prospect performances:

Cubs 2B Arismendy Alcantara, Triple-A Iowa: 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB — First Triple-A long ball for Alcantara, who is hitting .262 with just two walks and a .737 OPS in his PCL debut. (more…)

Minoring in Twitter: Old cars, new cars, dirty cars and sleeping… on a bus

By Danny Wild / MiLB.com

Lake Elsinore’s Joe Ross arrives in style (can anyone ID the car?)

Indianapolis’ Jake Brigham bought his wife an SUV for her birthday? Or maybe they just found it and took a photo with it?

More on cars: Cardinals No. 13 prospect Jordan Swagerty found an actual cardinal on his enormous Ford Super Duty pickup truck:

Check out these socks from Twins prospect Ryan O’Rourke (he’s a lefty, yes):

Does this photo from Louisville make you like umpires a little more?

Baseball players, you’ve been warned. Ladies, they’re catching on:

Astros right-hander Collin McHugh is living in a world of lies:

Let me enlighten you: taking your car to a car wash is one of the worst things you can do for your car’s paint. The water at car washes is all recycled, so it’s dirty water that’s filtered and gets sprayed on and drips off everyone else’s dirty cars, all day long. Think about all that road salt and mud. The brushes collect pebbles and debris that then gets dragged across your car’s exterior, creating fine scratches over time. Then you have the guys at the end who rub your car down with their dirty towels. Look at a car with dark-colored paint on a sunny day and you’ll see the swirl marks. But the oil change is totally a good idea.

The return of sleeping-teammates-on-buses photos:

And teammates reading on buses:

And players wearing this alien-elephant headsock thing:

And Archie Bradley on a plane:

And Archie Bradley’s view on that very same plane:

Do not disturb!

First-world problems:

Reds No. 1 prospect Robert Stephenson is such a big shot, he gets his own coach bus on road trips:

Bryan Harper, Bryce’s brother, says he’s very patient when it comes to ordering food…

… but when he’s driving? Not so patient:

… or even while waiting in line, patiently, to order his food:

Longtime slugger Jim Thome was caught writing on the walls at Charlotte’s brand-new ballpark:

Nah.

Uh. What?

 

 

Cody Decker is back, with a Willy Wonka-esque fashion statement:

Pirates No. 7 prospect Reese McGuire posts a photo of his behind:

Step aside, Chipotle — Iowa’s Marcus Hatley wants a Starbucks:

So what are you saying?

Need a hand?

Adorable:

Sorry, come again:

Old school:

Weird, but OK:

Stay strong Lucas!

Terrific:

Like, maybe… Chipotle?

Chipotle Tweets of the Week:

OH NOOOOOOO!!!!

Backfield Blog: Pittsburgh Pirates

By Jake Seiner/MiLB.com

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After a pleasant long weekend off the clock around the Fort Myers area, my jaunt around the Gulf Coast League continued with an early-morning trek up to Bradenton for a day in Pirate City. Unlike the other Minor League camps I’ve visited this spring, Pittsburgh’s Spring Training facility is located in a separate complex from the Major League stadium, McKechnie Field. While I didn’t get a chance to go check out some of the recent renovations over at McKechnie, the experience at the MiLB complex — known as Pirate City — was a cool one. While the Twins and Red Sox generally drew fans to their Minor League complexes only as a sideshow to that day’s big league game, Pirate City was flooded with dozens of Pittsburgh fans.

I pulled into camp around 10 a.m., early enough to catch some morning workouts before the Phillies’ Double-A and Triple-A squads arrived for Spring Training contests. The Pirates rotated their players through some baseball drills and a number of conditioning sessions in the morning. Infield practice featured a good chance to catch Alen Hanson in action. The shortstop prospect was lithe up the middle with noticeable spring in each step. While he botched more balls than some of his teammates, his actions and confidence — as well as a late-day chat with Double-A manager Carlos Garcia — left me encouraged about his chances to stick at short. For more on what Garcia had to say, you’ll have to check out our preseason content when it starts rolling out next week.

The real star of the infield session was second baseman Gift Ngoepe, a 24-year-old South African likely to return to Altoona in ’14. Ngoepe moves well despite a thicker lower half, but what really stands out are his hands. He dropped a number of jaws with one play when he ranged 15-20 feet to his left, fielded on a full sprint and turned around a spinning throw to second in a remarkable fluid and quick motion.

I also got a nice view for a side session by 2013 fourth-round pick Cody Dickson. The left-hander out of Sam Houston State featured heavy life on his fastball with considerable movement running toward the left-handed batter’s box. His changeup had similar fade but also considerably more sink, plummeting down in the strike zone when he controlled it well. He also spun a few promising curves, although the location on those was inconsistent. I was without a radar gun, but if reports of the mid-90s heat are accurate, Dickson could be a considerable steal for the Pirates.

As the games got under way, I got a chance to catch up with Pirates director of Minor League operations Larry Broadway. Most of that content is going to go into our season preview content, but here are a few highlights:

  • I asked about the changeup-heavy repertoire right-hander Jameson Taillon has been forced to use in the upper Minors, which led to a discussion about the Pirates’ strategy of forcing Minor League pitchers to work in unusual ways, such as with fastball-heavy or changeup-heavy workloads. In particular, I was curious if the organization is ever concerned with how a pitcher’s confidence might be shaken if he’s a fastball-slider pitcher who gets repeatedly shelled throwing 20-30 changeups per start. I liked Broadway’s response:

    “It’s all on us being able to change their lens on what success and failure is. The Minor Leagues is a lab for getting tested and prepared to be a Major League player. You shape that mentality for guys and figure that you have to be ready when you get to Pittsburgh.”

    Broadway hinted that the team’s ultimate goal in developing starting pitchers is to groom guys to retire batters with strikeouts, if possible, but also via groundouts. Pirates pitchers at certain levels are challenged to induce early, weak contact from hitters, even if they already possess the stuff to rack up gaudy strikeout numbers. Broadway suggested Taillon’s massive strikeout rate spike (18.8 percent at Bradenton in 2012, 22.2 percent at Altoona in ’13) is less about Taillon’s stuff or command improving and more about his instructions and goals changing.

    “There’s a purpose to everything we do. Sometimes we’re focusing on early contact, trying to get ground balls. Sometimes they’re focused on using weapons and execution attacking hitters. He has the weapons to strike out anybody when he wants to and he has the weapons to get ground balls. It’s a matter of picking certain times and refining certain weapons and thought processes for him so he can have that whole arsenal when he gets to the big leagues. That’s what I would attribute most of the variation in those kinds of stats to.”

  • The Pirates entered 2014 with a glut of catching prospects ready for action at Class A West Virginia, including 2013 first-rounder Reese McGuire, Wyatt Mathisen and Jin-De Jhang. Broadway said that problem has been solved by moving Mathisen to third base full-time. The 2012 second-rounder was moved behind the plate as a pro but saw limited action there last year due to shoulder problems. A high school shortstop, Mathisen will move to third, mostly in an attempt to get more at-bats — Broadway left open the possibility that Mathisen could return to catching down the road, although for now he’ll work strictly as an infielder.
  • Playing next to Mathisen at short for the Power will be 2013 third-rounder JaCoby Jones. The LSU product was one of the most athletic players in last summer’s Draft, but he’s also incredibly raw for a college draftee. He’s spent time at shortstop and in the outfield in the past but will work exclusively at shortstop this season, Broadway said.
  • West Virginia should be a hot affiliate in 2014, featuring 2013 first-rounders McGuire and Austin Meadows, Mathisen, Jones, outfielder Harold Ramirez and Dickson, among others.
  • Speaking of Meadows, Broadway mentioned the outfielder has been slowed by a hamstring injury this spring. The injury isn’t serious and Meadows should resume playing soon.
  • Blake Taylor, a 2013 second-round pick, is likely to spend the first half of the summer in extended spring training before heading north with one of the organization’s short-season affiliates. The left-hander logged 21 Gulf Coast League innings in 2013.

That should just about do it for today. Tomorrow morning, I’ll conclude my Gulf tour with a short drive to Sarasota and Orioles camp. Be sure to check in tomorrow evening for more on that.

Differentiating between MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus top prospect rankings

By Sam Dykstra/MiLB.com

Prospectphiles continued their rejoicing, followed by debating, on Monday with Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks releasing his top 101 prospects list. That comes a little less than a week after MLB.com revealed its own top 100 rankings. More will shortly this way come as ESPN’s Keith Law puts out his top 100 Wednesday and Baseball America wraps up its team-by-team breakdowns the same day.

That many breakdowns means there are a lot of opinions, and as seen in any public forum, a lot of opinions usually means a lot of differing opinions. You could certainly say that’s the case with the MLB and BP lists. Let’s take a look at the biggest differences:

Almonte

Players in BP list but not MLB.com

46. Miguel Almonte

56. Josmil Pinto

58. Hunter Harvey

59. Reese McGuire

60. Eddie Rosario

63. Phillip Ervin

68. James Paxton

70. Chi Chi Rodriguez

71. Wilmer Flores

76. Alberto Tirado

78. Sean Manaea

80. Nick Kingham

82. Jonathan Schoop

86. Brian Goodwin

88. Nick Williams

90. Enny Romero

96. Hunter Dozier

97. Raimel Tapia

98. Alexander Reyes

101. Lewis Thorpe

Analysis: Where to start, where to start. It might as well be with Almonte, who jumped into the top 50 of Parks’ rankings. The big difference in opinion appears to be in how you view Almonte’s changeup. Parks had that particular offering at a 7 potential, while MLB.com’s last report had it just as a 5 for both present and future. The 20-year-old right-hander has only reached Class A ball, so there’s still plenty of time for him to move up or down the rankings.

Pinto broke out big time with the bat (.309/.400/.482) at Double-A and Triple-A in 2013, and that was enough to earn praise from Parks. All that said, both his ceiling and floor are expected to be in the range of a Major League regular rather than a star, leading to the slight from MLB.com. He’ll likely start the year in Triple-A Rochester again, but odds are he’ll get the chance to beat those expectations once again with the lowly Twins in 2014.

Harvey, McGuire and Ervin are 2013 first-rounders who have yet to really make a home in the pros. All have the potential to rocket into the MLB.com 100 once they get innings/at-bats under their belts. My bet is that McGuire impresses the most out of that bunch.

Romero — my pick for MLB’s biggest snub — comes in at No. 90 on Parks’ list.

McCullers

Guys in MLB.com but not BP

46. Allen Webster

52. Lance McCullers

62. Mookie Betts

65. Jake Marisnick

66. Delino DeShields

67. Alen Hanson

73. Trevor Bauer

75. Mason Williams

81. Justin Nicolino

83. Jimmy Nelson

84. Hak-Ju Lee

85. Rafael Montero

87. Casey Kelly

93. Roberto Osuna

94. Taylor Guerrieri

95. Edwin Escobar

96. Trey Ball

97. Robbie Ray

99. Rosell Herrera

Analysis: As I’ve written, I agree with BP’s non-ranking of Webster here. The same goes for Bauer and Nelson. The stuff is good enough to warrant a conversation on their inclusion but command concerns should keep them off.

As for position players, I talked at length in my last post as well about Williams and why he should drop off. I can see why Marisnick (limited bat) and DeShields (makeup concerns) also fell off.

The biggest surprise is Montero. I made the case that he should actually be higher than MLB.com’s No. 85 because of his command and results at the upper levels. Parks didn’t agree. Fair enough. McCullers and Betts were also worthy in my mind, although I understand everyone isn’t necessarily high on the latter’s profile as a future second baseman.

Austin Meadows

Five biggest drops in BP rankings from MLB.com

89. Austin Meadows (MLB.com 45, difference 44)

93. Jesse Biddle (MLB.com 53, difference 41)

69. Henry Owens (MLB.com 30, difference 39)

81. C.J. Edwards (MLB.com 42, difference 39)

85. Gary Sanchez (MLB.com 47, difference 38)

Analysis: Meadows, the ninth overall pick by the Pirates last June, got high grades from MLB.com on his hit (60), run (65) and field (60) tools. Parks hasn’t released his Pirates rankings yet and thus hasn’t offered his own reports on the center fielder, except to say that he liked the extremely speedy Phil Ervin more.  

Biddle, Owens and Edwards are all signs that MLB.com is high on guys who can rack up the K’s, as each put up double-digit K/9 numbers last season. Yet there are concerns for each — control, projectability and durability, respectively. Edwards, in particular, was ranked a little too high by MLB.com for my taste, despite his spectacular results in 2013. With questions regarding his workload, I’d want to wait until he tosses more than 116 1/3 innings in a season before giving him a spot in the top 50.

Owings

Five biggest risers in BP from MLB.com

28. Chris Owings (MLB.com 77, difference 49)

66. Stephen Piscotty (MLB.com 98, difference 32)

13. Lucas Giolito (MLB.com 44, difference 31)

47. Matt Wisler (MLB.com 78, difference 31)

35. Julio Urias (MLB.com 64, difference 29)

Analysis: It’s apparent that MLB.com is more down on both Owings’ play at the plate and the field. While his top ranking is just 55 (hit) for them, he received a 6+ potential hit and 6 arm from Parks. If he hits those marks in the Majors, that’s a big value at the shortstop position, making him fully worthy of the higher ranking.

Giolito (Tommy John) and Urias (extreme youth) are classic examples of unbelievably high ceilings with unknown floors. MLB.com chose to temper expectations because of the floor, while BP kept them high because of the ceiling. My view: incredible talents like Giolito and Urias deserve to be higher. If the ceiling is high, the ranking should follow suit.

Wisler is virtually the opposite of those two. His floor is in the back-end of a rotation with his ceiling not much higher at a No. 3 slot. If you find value in a guy who’s guaranteed to make a big-league rotation someday, you’ll put him higher. If you prefer guys who have higher ceilings (despite lower floors), then guys like Wisler fall.

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