Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking Neal Huntington’s First-Round Draft Picks Part One

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CLEARWATER, FLORIDA – MARCH 05: Reese McGuire #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays walks through the dugout during the fourth inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field on March 05, 2020 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA – MARCH 05: Reese McGuire #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays walks through the dugout during the fourth inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field on March 05, 2020 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Number 11 – Catcher Reese McGuire

In the 2013 draft the Pittsburgh Pirates had two first-round picks. This was due to failing to sign Appel the year before. With the second of these two picks they drafted high school catcher Reese McGuire, who was viewed as the top prep catcher in the draft, with the 14th overall selection.

Like Baz, McGuire was traded before ever reaching the MLB level. The reason he slots a spot ahead of Baz is because the trade he was a part of, contrary to what a lot of people believe, was not a total and complete disaster.

On July 31, 2016, Huntington made one of his most controversial trades as Pirate GM. He was looking to get Francisco Liriano’s contract off the books as he had lost his way as a starting pitcher and the Pirates wanted to free up the money committed to him through the 2017 season. In order to do this, Huntington sent McGuire and outfield prospect Harold Ramirez to the Toronto Blue Jays along with Liriano. In return, the Pirates only received pitcher Drew Hutchinson.

While this trade was torn to shreds at the time, it was not all that bad of a trade. Liriano never did re-find his footing as a starting pitcher, and the Pirates used the money they got off the books to sign David Freese to a contract extension and to re-sign Ivan Nova that offseason. Furthermore, while McGuire has become a slightly above league average catcher for the Blue Jays, Ramirez never amounted to anything more than a fourth outfielder and McGuire never did reach his full first-round pedigree.

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