We don’t often get highlights from the West Virginia Power, so here are some from the last couple days. It seems like the Rome Braves are the only team that posts highlights, so when the Power are in town, they usually post one per game for the visiting team.
The first video is a sacrifice fly from Reese McGuire, which gave the Power a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth. McGuire hasn’t hit much since the All-Star break, posting a .535 OPS in 29 games. He has been much better recently though and helping his team out with some key hits. In his last nine games, McGuire is hitting .353 with nine RBIs. He puts the ball in play a lot, so while the overall results aren’t anything special this year(.621 OPS), it’s good to see that he isn’t over-matched at the plate. In 326 plate appearances, he has a 20/32 BB/SO ratio, very low numbers in both categories, which is obviously good and bad. McGuire will need to show a better pitch selection, which should lead to more walks and more extra-base hits(he has just 11), but it’s important to remember that he is 19 years old in full-season ball and catchers usually develop slower at the plate compared to most other positions.
The second Power video is Maximo Rivera driving in two runs. The 21-year-old, who has played all over the diamond throughout his career, was just recently promoted to West Virginia from Bristol. Rivera has an interesting story. He has been in the Pirates system for five years and was actually a high-priced July 2nd signing back in 2009. His $165K bonus that year was the second highest one signed by a Pirates player behind Jose Osuna and ahead of Alen Hanson. He was originally a power-hitting shortstop, but not only did he not show any power his first two years, he quickly moved off shortstop. He broke out in his third season in the DSL, batting .367 and showing some glimpses of power with four homers. He moved to the GCL last year and saw limited playing time, then moved to Bristol this year and batted .310 in 19 games before the promotion.
Rivera has played every position except catcher and pitcher during his career and has never played more than 32 games at one position in any season, so you could say there hasn’t been much stability in his career. If he’s ever going to show the power/hitting combo the Pirates thought they were getting, he needs to show it soon or he will be buried as an organizational player next year, then become a minor league free agent the following season.
Finally, we have a video of Stetson Allie’s 15th homer, which he hit last night. He’s handled the AA jump about as well as you could expect from someone with his experience. The .239 average and 99 strikeouts in 306 at-bats obviously don’t look good, but he has 14 doubles, 15 homers and 45 walks, which are all positive signs. He’s going to leave the Pirates with a difficult Rule V decision this off-season, especially if he can finish strong. Some team might be willing to take him based on the huge power potential alone, so the Pirates will have to decide whether they are willing to chance him being selected, or add a player to their 40-man roster that may never hit enough to reach that full power potential.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
The Pirates would be crazy to leave Allie available for the rule 5 draft. Since they are bound to lose a decent player this year in the rule 5 they might want to make some kind of trade before long.
Absolutely love that Allie HR Call by the Curve announcer… lol… #Annihilation. You protect Allie no doubt. He’s shown progress, he’s got a nice walk rate, he’s got annihilation power. I see him in the burgh in 2016, unless he’s traded for other needs.
Also in the McGuire video, they show Meadows running home from third… maybe it’s just the video, but he doesn’t look particularly athletic… seems a little heavy footed. Only bring it up as the scout reports have said he’s a CF guy and he seemed more like a corner athlete in the video. I’d like to see him in person before long. Love the bat though.
I agree if he finishes strong, they need to protect him, but if he doesn’t I could see it being a coin flip decision. His power is great, but you don’t see too many .239 hitters in AA that strikeout a lot, who go on to make an impact in the Majors. His case is different from most, so it adds another dimension to the process. If he was just another 23-year-old putting up those same numbers, he wouldn’t even be getting consideration.
He’s shown pretty severe splits since leaving West Virginia. Short-side 1B platoon certainly doesn’t have great value, but it’s something you’d much rather be able to find internally than have to pay for it.
I would definitley protect him escpecially since he took a few years off from hitting – like you said his case is different from most.