Jays From the Couch take a closer look at the Blue Jays newest Top Prospects, Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez
As a self proclaimed Blue Jays ‘Minor League Guy’ the trade deadline is a very stressful time of year for me. I hate giving up the future for the present. So I was ecstatic when the trade the Blue Jays made to acquire Francisco Liriano and a pair of prospect came down the pipes.
— Pirates (@Pirates) August 1, 2016
Here is a quick look at what the Blue Jays newest prospects bring to the organization.
C Reese McGuire
I’m a Toronto Blue Jay ???⚾️
— Reese McGuire (@Reese_McGuire21) August 2, 2016
The 5’11” Covington, Washington native is a former 1st round selection of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Drafted as an athletic catcher, scouts raved over his baseball IQ and natural ability behind the plate. Reese McGuire has steadily ascended up the Pirates farm system, spending a year at ever level.
Fast forward to the present day. Reese McGuire was playing every day for the Altoona Curve, Pittsburgh’s Double-A affiliate. The 21-yr-old was providing the Curve with league average offense posting a .319 wOBA and 95 wRC+ in 76 games. However, it isn’t his bat that has impressed scouts.
Baseball America has Reese McGuire ranked as the Pirates 6th best prospect in their system
He is an outstanding receiver with soft hands and an extraordinary ability to frame pitches and steal strikes for his pitchers. He is mobile behind the plate, has an above-average arm and an advanced feel for working with a pitching staff.
For a farm system that is starving for a quality catching prospect, McGuire looks to fill that role. You have to love a guy that has thrown out 40% of would be base stealers over his minor league career.
With only 4 minor league home runs in 323 minor games, his bat is behind his defensive prowess. Despite not hitting for power, Reese McGuire has shown good patience at the plate. He owns a BB/K of 1.12 thanks to a BB% of 9.3 and a K% of 8.3. The Blue Jays can afford to be patient with McGuire, as Russell Martin will continue to lock down the starting catcher gig for the next couple years.
There are legit questions over whether Reese McGuire will ever hit. But he can defend, so has some value as a C.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) August 1, 2016
With the tandem of R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole likely heading out of town this off-season, Reese McGuire could be in a Blue Jays uniform as early as 2017. Look for Reese McGuire to join Ryan Lavarnway in New Hampshire. This will push Jorge Saez back to Dunedin.
CF Harold Ramirez
— Trey Wilson (@treywilson757) July 24, 2016
The Pittsburgh Pirates are set in the out with young outfielders Andrew McCutchen, Sterling Marte and Gregory Polanco. With the struggles McCutchen has experienced in 2016, it is possible that he may be the odd man out this off-season. Luckily for the Pirates Austin Meadows should be ready for prime time in 2017. This made Harold Ramirez expendable.
Harold Ramirez can hit, but wouldn’t play for the Pirates because he’s behind Big Three + Meadows+Bell. But that’s their #6 & #10 prospects
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) August 1, 2016
In 96 games Harold Ramirez has provide the Curve with above league average offensive production with a .352 wOBA and 116 wRC+. Unfortunately, like McGuire, Ramirez appears to be a singles hits with speed enough to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He’s posted an .097 ISO through 96 Double-A games, hitting 16 doubles, 7 triples, and just 2 home runs. His 5.2 BB% and 15.2 K% project him as a bottom of the order type.
The 21-yr-old has dealt with numerous leg issues in 2014, which have continued to trouble him. This could explain going from a 22 stolen base guy to guy that runs into far too many outs. Ramirez has managed to steal 7 bases in 2016, while being caught 10 times. He is 3-for-8 in stolen base attempts in July, so definitely not right.
A line drive hitter with power potential, Baseball America has this to say about the Blue Jays newest outfield prospect,
he steps in the batter’s box intent on hitting line drives. Ramirez does not drive the ball much despite his thick build, but his power production should improve as he continues to gain experience.
Ramirez has above-average speed and is willing to take risks on the basepaths, though he tends to run into too many outs at this point in his career. A lack of overall focus can be a problem at times.
Ramirez has shown that he is an everyday player, albeit at the Double-A level, hitting LHP (.292) and RHP (.310) equally well. He’s split his time between lead-off (47GP) and clean-up (39GP) having more success batting clean-up (.331/.358/.430).
The native of Cartegena, Colombia will join Dwight Smith Jr., and Roemon Fields in the New Hampshire Fisher Cats outfield prospects. This will push Ian Parmley in a reserve role and push Melky Mesa back up to Buffalo or out completely. The other possibility is that Fields and his 17-for-18 July steals move to Buffalo.
MLB.com has already updated the Toronto Blue Jays Top 30 Prospects placing Reese McGuire at number 4 and Harold Ramirez at number 5 (full list). In a trade where the Blue Jays gave up Drew Hutchison, they landed a starting pitcher, a struggling starting pitcher, and two prospects that slide right into the system’s Top 10. I’d say that’s a good trade.
Featured Image Mandatory Credit: Kris Robinson UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.