ShareThis Page

Pirates minor league notebook: McGuire powers West Virginia

| Saturday, June 21, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
The Pittsburgh Pirates introduce their second first-round draft pick, catcher Reese McGuire, during a press conference at PNC Park on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.

After finishing on a 14-game losing streak and ending the first-half of the season with a South Atlantic League-worst 20-48 record, no team probably welcomed the All-Star break and a resetting of records like the West Virginia Power.

But buried in the abysmal record were some positives.

Take 2013 first-round pick Reese McGuire.

The catcher had his ups and downs, but ended with three consecutive two-hit games, hit his first professional home run in the next-to-last game of the first half, and carried that momentum into the all-star game Tuesday, tripling and hitting a sac fly for the Northern Division team. (The game ended in a 4-4 tie after 10 innings.)

McGuire, the No. 14 pick overall in 2013, registered a 19-game hitting streak during the first half, falling just short of Starling Marte's 22-game streak in 2009 that stands as the Power record since the club became a Pirates affiliate in that season.

He finished the first half with a .277 average, good for a tie for third-best on the team as he goes through his first full year of professional ball.

“Just trying to be consistent everyday, going up there, controlling what I can control and that's getting a good swing on the ball, picking a good pitch to hit early in the count,” McGuire said. “Other than that, (I'm) not going up there trying to get a hit, but just hitting the ball hard.”

The 19-year-old has also shown quite the ability to put balls in play, striking out just 19 times and walking 17 times in 173 first-half at-bats.

“Just being a catcher, seeing a lot of pitchers, and having a good feel for what's a ball and what's a strike,” McGuire said about what he's learned as a pro. “It can be a positive and a negative. Sometimes you might tap one at someone and wish you had put a better swing on something.”

Striking out in strikeouts

West Virginia pitching had the fewest strikeouts (424) in the league, trailing next-to-last Asheville by 41. Relievers Felipe Gonzalez and Yhonathan Barrios are the only two hurlers on the team averaging a strikeout per inning or better, with Gonzalez punching out 46 in 45 innings and Barrios 28 in 27 23 innings.

Extra bases

Third baseman Erich Weiss finished as the team's leader in batting average, hitting .307, good enough for a tie for seventh among the league's leaders. He also played in the All-Star Game, going 1 for 2. ... Outfielder JaCoby Jones led the club with eight home runs to go with a .260 average and 34 RBIs. ... Outfielder Austin Meadows, who was selected ahead of McGuire in the 2013 draft at No. 9, is still listed on the Power roster but remains on the DL with a hamstring injury. He has yet to make his debut with West Virginia.

Ryan Pritt is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.