Name: Deck McGuire
Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Acquired: 1st round (2010)
Opening Day age: 22
Height/weight: 6’6”/220 lbs
Best/worst tool: Slider/curveball
Risk factor: Low
Unlike most of Toronto’s top pitching prospects, McGuire’s biggest strengths are his proximity to the major leagues and his lack of a glaring weakness. He was selected 11th overall in the 2010 draft, and at the time Toronto had a sound understanding of what he was going to be -- there’s not a lot of projectability in a filled out 6’6” frame. The height does give McGuire a steep downward plane on his pitches, which aids in the generation of groundballs. His delivery is smooth, but a bit meticulous with slow arm action from the 3/4 slot. It does contain some deception, however, and he repeats it well. McGuire has very good command, which allows his less than spectacular repertoire to play up. His fastball is an average pitch, sitting in the 89-92 mph range and rarely clocking higher. The movement is also quite average, as it has some arm side sink but nothing dramatic. Another of McGuire’s strengths is his depth of arsenal, as he throws three different offspeed pitches. The best of the group could be his slider, which has flashed fringe-plus potential while sitting in the mid 80’s. McGuire’s changeup has shown above average potential. A low 80’s offering, it can throw hitters off the timing of his fastball, while also serving as an out pitch against lefties. Closing out the groups a sweeping curveball, sitting in the mid 70’s while showing more loop than bite. Such a repertoire should get big league hitters out, but with so little projectability it’s doubtful his ceiling is much higher than it currently is.
2011 Statistics and Analysis
23 games (21 starts), 125.1 IP, 109 H, 42 ER, 13 HR, 45 BB, 124 K
9-5, 3.02 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 8.90 K/9, 2.76 K/BB, 0.86 GO/AO
McGuire split his debut season between High-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire, appearing in 19 games at the former and 4 at the latter. While the overall line looks pretty good, there are some pretty glaring issues. With Dunedin, where he dominated to the tune of a 2.75 ERA, he had some home run issues, allowing 9 in 104.2 innings. That problem was amplified after his promotion to New Hampshire, as he allowed 4 home runs in just 20.2 innings. It speaks to the lack of life (both in terms of velocity and movement) on his fastball, and how he can become overly reliant on a mediocre pitch. McGuire would be a lot more successful if he mixed things up and/or worked backwards more often. His season was cut short in early August, as the Blue Jays placed McGuire on the minor league disabled list with a lower back injury. It wasn’t serious, as he returned on September 5th to make a relief appearance before the Fisher Cats began the playoffs. McGuire also started game 4 in the Eastern League Championship, though he was ineligible for the win after throwing only 3 innings.
Expected 2012 Assignment: Double-A New Hampshire
McGuire will begin the season with Double-A New Hampshire, but should make his major league debut at some point during the 2012 season. With only 23 career games under his belt he could use a little more seasoning, so it’s doubtful he would be the first injury replacement. That honor might fall to Chad Jenkins or Drew Hutchison, both of whom have two full minor league seasons to their name. Regardless, McGuire should see the Toronto rotation later in the summer, or at the very latest, September. Depending upon how the season unfolds for the pitching staff, McGuire could either contend for a full time rotation spot in the spring of 2013, or he could be traded over the offseason. He lacks the one or two great pitches to be a late inning reliever, so if Toronto can’t find a spot in the rotation for him, they might be better off seeking equal value in a trade.
Perfect World Projection: Strong #4 starter who is durable, reliable, and gobbles up innings.