Monday, May 13, 2013

McGuire on the Rebound?

   Righthander Deck McGuire was the Jays' first round choice (11th overall) in the 2010 draft out of Georgia Tech.  After a decent first year in pro ball, McGuire struggled in AA last year, and his overall minor league numbers, as a result, have been underwhelming.  Over his last few starts this year with New Hampshire, he quietly is showing signs of reclaiming his prospect status.
   It's puzzling to understand why McGuire had troubles last year, but his secondary stats indicate that he wasn't missing as many bats in 2012 as he had the year before.  The Cats continued to give him his regular turn in the rotation, as he scuffled along to a 5-15 record, with a 5.88 ERA. McGuire admitted that it was the first time he had really experienced prolonged difficulties at any level, and was frustrated by his performance.
  The Jays sent McGuire to the Arizona Fall League in the hopes of turning things around, and pitching mostly out of the bullpen, he showed signs of improvement in limited innings (which did include a couple of high-leverage situations).  McGuire actually handled left-handed hitters better than righties in the AFL.  Despite this progress, ESPN's Keith Law still described McGuire as "fringy" prospect.
   This season, McGuire is repeating AA, and perhaps with the weight of expectations having been lifted somewhat, his stats are evidence of a modest turnaround.  In 7 starts, McGuire is 2-3 with a 5.11 ERA, and a 1.43 WHIP.  If you cull a disastrous outing against Binghamton on April 21st from his stats when, McGuire was shelled for 8 runs in 4 innings, the ERA drops to 3.58, and the WHIP to 1.11 (McGuire walked 6 in that start as well).  Compared to last year, McGuire's K% is on the rise.
   With teammate Chad Jenkins recalled to the Jays, and Sean Nolin back from the disabled list, McGuire may be able to continue to progress a little bit removed from the spotlight.  Given his success in Arizona last fall, his stuff may play better out of the pen.  The Jays will likely continue to take their time with him, but a mid-season promotion to Buffalo may be in store for the 6'6" hurler.
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