Pittsburgh Pirates: A day in the Life of a Minor Leaguer With Solomon Maguire


For the 17th installment of ‘A Day in the Life of a Minor Leaguer’ we head to the land down under to talk with one of the newest members of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Australian teenager Solomon Maguire

There are few times in a man’s life when he gets to follow his dreams. I can tell you that this whole project has been a dream come true for me getting an opportunity to talk to and getting to know these Pittsburgh Pirates prospects. Today will mark not only the 17th installment but also the youngest participant in ‘A Day in the Life of a Minor Leaguer.’

On January 27th, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded away Starling Marte in return for shortstop prospect Liover Peguero and pitching prospect Brennan Malone. They also received $250,000 in international money. With this money the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to sign my next interview, Australia’s own 17-year-old phenom Solomon Maguire.

Being 17 and sort of unknown in the United States, I asked Maguire to describe who exactly he is as a person.

“I’m pretty outgoing. I’m just like every other kid here in Sydney. There’s nothing too different from me. I guess you could say I’ve pursued my dreams a bit more than others. I used to play the simple sports in Australia like soccer, but I feel in love with baseball at a young age, which isn’t too popular here.”

He touched on how in Australia baseball is not the main thing people pursue. So, I asked him what the baseball scene was like in the land down under.

“Right now, it’s slowly on an uphill going towards bigger numbers with participation. It’s still quite small though it’s a niche sport still. There’s still enough people to create numbers for a lot of teams, but in the baseball community in Australia, if you’re big, everyone knows you and who you are.”

I would imagine there was little to no influence in Maguire’s life to drive or push him to play baseball, but I wanted to know if there was something that lit a spark for him. “No, there really wasn’t. With the guys who do play baseball here, they have some roots with either parents or grandparents, but not me. In kindergarten, one of my friends invited me to this event, and we just ran around the bases, and then I just fell in love with the game of baseball through that connection with my friend.”

There are a few MLB talents that have been Australian, but not many. So, in that vein, I wanted to get a gauge and see if there were any players he looks up to now in the Majors. “There are two I look up to, and one actually is Australian, and his name is Trent Oeltjen. He was an Australian outfielder, and he’s a big name over here because, like me, he’s left-handed, fast, and he plays in the outfield.”

“The second is Derek Jeter. He’s a great role model on and off the field. He was a leader, and that’s what inspires me.” Yet again, we see how influential the Yankee shortstop is, and he still inspires these young kids today. There is no denying his greatness anymore.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates signing Maguire to one of the larger bonuses in the 43 man class of international free agent signings, I wanted to know what that was like for such a young kid to go through.

“It was quite a shock at the start, to be honest. In Australia, as I said, baseball isn’t a path for a lot of kids. Teams start to gain interest and get more information about you. My signing bonus in Australia was the third highest. I wanted to always be that guy who was the 1% and did things differently than others. With seeing the Pirates and the facilities and what they had to offer, it was a dream come true.”

With Solomon being the big man on campus of sorts in his homeland, I can imagine he’s getting more attention than usual. I wanted to know what it’s like for the Pittsburgh Pirates prospect to get that attention at such a young age.

“I wouldn’t say I’m used to it because it’s a big thing. This is something I’ve worked to achieve. You have to stay grounded because this is only the first step of your future and career. I had to get used to it and be as humble as possible.”

This requires some scene setting if you will, it was around midnight my time, but over in Australia, it was around 1:30 PM. Maguire told me he had to finish his school call before he could jump on, which made me wonder what it was like to manage school and baseball all at once.

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“In Australia, when you’re in year 12 like me, you have to get really good grades and do well to get into university. For 99% of kids, it’s what they have to do. I’m a firm believer in following one path you hear people say you need a plan B, which is true, and I will find one if need be, but right now I’m just focused on baseball. I still put a ton of effort in school, but now that I’ve been signed professionally, baseball has taken the front seat.”

With there being relatively not a whole lot to work with as far as stats and such with Maguire, I wanted him to describe to me what kind of player we should expect him to be. “I like to consider myself an all around player. I wouldn’t say all five tools are perfect, but they are all above average, especially in Australia. You could say in Australia I’m definitely a speed guy I consider myself one of the top speed guys in Australia. I can produce a little power despite my size right now. That surprises a lot of people, especially at the under 18 world cup. I was the only one to hit a home run, and I think it was opposite field. I’d say with hitting, running, and defense, I’m solid all around.”

In 2019, Maguire was invited to the College Showcase in Arizona along with some other Pittsburgh Pirates signees. I wanted to know what that experience was like for him to be surrounded by a melting pot of talent.

“I think it was a great experience. It’s been going on for a couple of years now, and then I got my turn to go to Arizona. Just playing alongside the best talent from other countries and picking their brains was really interesting. It was cool to see how far ahead these guys are, and that’s where I want to be in a couple of years.”

Writers around America and within the city of Pittsburgh have placed Maguire in center field I was wondering if that is where he wants to be when it’s time to play again.

“Yes, as a young player, I played shortstop but then slowly moved to the outfield because of my speed and defense, and I’ve fallen in love with center field. I feel the most comfortable there, and it’s where I feel at home. Even if I do get moved, I’m happy accordingly.”

Quarantine workouts are the buzz word nowadays with every athlete’s story on Instagram and Twitter posts being about that. I figured why not add to it and ask Solomon what he was working on and what his workouts are like.

“With gyms now being closed, you will get a lot of guys saying great now we can’t build our power. You can take that as a negative but not me. Specifically, I’ve been working on muscular endurance, to get a good composition, so I’m not injury prone. I want to have my body in a healthy position inside and outside, so I’m able to handle all of the training that’s in front of me.”

Obviously, Maguire spoke to Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington and the front office, but I wanted to know what the main things they told him when they spoke.

“I didn’t get too much of a talk with them. I know with what they’re saying is they want the Pittsburgh Pirates to change their game. They haven’t had the most successful couple of years, and they want a world series, and that’s my ultimate goal. My goal isn’t just to make the majors but bring the Pirates a world series. Some people think it’s out there, but what the front office is doing where on a great track to get there.”

You see, with international prospect signings, especially with the Pittsburgh Pirates, they go straight to the Dominican Summer League most of the time. I wanted to know if that was the same in Maguire’s case. “If my memory is correct, I went over there before getting signed and played in a tournament with a lot of their potential signings. I don’t think I’ll be in the Summer League, to be honest, I think I’ll be playing a season here in Australia and then just going straight to Florida.”

We delved into the mental aspect of the game for a little while. “That’s a big interest for me,” he noted. He also talked about how he approached the game from the mental side. “You will never see me getting angry. Some people use it to their advantage when they strikeout and the channel that anger into something else, but I’ve never been angry. There was a game in the world cup, and we were facing Chinese Taipei, and I struck out four times I wore the Golden Sombrero. Usually, every player gets mad, but not me. I think players slightly overlook the mental aspect, and I really try to study the mind and how Major League players approach their mental aspect of the game. It could be the difference between two players with the exact same tools and only one making it. I’m a big believer in it.”

Next. Revisiting the Joakim Soria Trade. dark

Now here comes the most shocking part of this whole interview was when I asked if he was a Netflix or Hulu addict. Ladies and gentlemen… Solomon Maguire has never heard of Hulu! Quite shocking, but hey who knows they might not have Hulu out there.

This young man has all the makings and mental makeup to become a well-rounded individual and player. The way he spoke and the encouraging things I heard from the man himself is very encouraging. I hope that all of you, after reading this lookup this incredible individual and come to the same conclusion as me.