Hidden Vigorish

Detailed Analysis of The Pittsburgh Pirates

Category – WV Power

Reese McGuire Nabs a Base Stealer With a 1.88 Pop Time

Reese McGuire is one of the most highly regarded defensive catching prospects in baseball. The following video taken from the West Virginia Power vs. Lexington Legends on 4/5/14 gives you a little glimpse as to why scouts love McGuire’s defensive ability.
 

 
The amount of time it takes a catcher to deliver a ball to second base is called the “pop time”. It is a stop watch measure between the pop of the ball in the catcher’s mitt on receiving the pitch to the pop of the ball in the second basemen’s glove on receiving the throw from the catcher. An average pop time for a major league catcher is 2 seconds. The best of the best defensively post pop times below 1.9 seconds. I have Reese McGuire clocked at 1.88 seconds on this caught stealing. That would be a very good pop time for any catcher. For a 19 year old kid in A Ball it is beyond outstanding. Notice how quickly McGuire makes the exchange from the mitt to his throwing hand. It is no wonder the runner was out by a mile.
 

West Virginia Power Player of the Week: Cody Dickson

Left-handed starting pitcher Cody Dickson dominated the Lexington Legends on Saturday to earn the very first HiddenVigorish.com West Virginia Power Player of the Week Award. Dickson pitched 5 innings allowing just 3 hits and 0 walks while striking out 7 to earn the win. The Lexington Legends video feed of the game was carried on MILB.tv, so I got my first good look at Cody Dickson. I’m impressed. He has a very clean delivery and throws from a three quarter arm slot. His command on Saturday was very good. He mixed his pitches well, and got quite a few of his 7 Ks on breaking balls. Dickson is going to be real tough on left-handed hitters. He was the Pirates 4th round pick of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Sam Houston State. He has a real good chance to be a breakout pitching prospect for the Pirates this season. He is already one of the top five left-handed pitchers in the system. A few more outings like the one on Saturday against the Legends and Cody Dickson’s stock will skyrocket.
 

Origins of the West Virginia Power 2014 Roster

2014 marks the sixth season that the West Virginia Power have been an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Power opened the season on April 4th at the Lexington Legends with this roster: WV Power 2014 Opening Day Roster.
 
22 players are appearing with the Power for the first time, while 4 players are repeating the level. The roster is heavy with players drafted out of college. 13 of the 26 players on the WV roster were college players selected in the past two drafts. Let’s dissect the roster a little further.
 
Youngest Player: Reese McGuire – DOB: 03/02/1995
 
Oldest Player: Francisco Diaz – DOB: 03/21/1990
 
Top Prospect: Catcher Reese McGuire. McGuire is a consensus Top 100 Prospect among scouting services, and is considered among the best defensive catching prospects in all of baseball. He was the 14th overall pick in the 2013 draft. BaseballProspectus.com ranks him as the 59th best prospect.
 
Top Pitching Prospect: Luis Heredia. Heredia had huge expectations placed on him after receiving the highest international free agent signing bonus in the Pirates history back in 2010. He has fallen out off of many of the top 100 prospect lists which signifies there has been some disappointment in his progression thus far. That is probably a little unfair. He is still only 19 years old which makes him the youngest pitcher on the West Virginia roster. The reports are that he showed up to camp this Spring in much better shape than last season. That is a sign of mental maturation as much as it is physical maturation.
 
Others to watch: Cody Dickson is one of the better left-handed pitching prospects in the Pirates system. Many scouts have tabbed outfielders Harold Ramirez and Barrett Barnes as breakout candidates. Wyatt Mathisen is transitioning from catcher to third base this season after having his 2013 season curtailed by a shoulder injury.
 
Where they came from (pitchers):

2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
High School Draftees 0 0 1 0 0 0
College Draftees 7 0 0 0 0 0
Int. Free Agent – Colombia 0 0 0 0 0 1
Int. Free Agent – Mexico 0 0 0 1 0 0
Int. Free Agent – D.R. 0 0 0 1 1 0
Int. Free Agent – Lithuania 0 0 0 0 1 0
MiLB Rule 5 Draftees (from Yankees) 1 0 0 0 0 0

 
Where they came from (position players):

2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
High School Draftees 1 1 1 0 0 0
College Draftees 4 2 0 0 0 0
Int. Free Agent – Colombia 0 0 1 0 0 1
Int. Free Agent – D.R. 0 0 1 0 0 0
MiLB Rule 5 Draftees (from Phillies) 0 0 1 0 0 0

 

From Power to Pirates

The West Virginia Power began their affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to the 2009 season. They participate in the South Atlantic League (Sally League), which is a Class A full season minor league. This is an important stop in the career of a professional baseball player. West Virginia is the first stop in the Pirates’ farm system that plays a full season. I plan on following the Power closely this season and posting frequent reports on what is going on with the prospects in West Virginia. It is too daunting to follow and write about the entire farm system, so I’m choosing to focus on the Power because some of best talent in the organization such as Reese McGuire and Austin Meadows will be playing in West Virginia in 2014. I also live fairly close to several teams that play in the South Atlantic League. This will give me an opportunity to get a first hand look at these prospects.
 
To kick things off I thought it would be cool to look at the players that have made the jump from West Virginia to Pittsburgh thus far, and just how quickly it took them. Keep in mind the Power’s affiliation with the Pirates only dates back to 2009, so players like Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker pre-date that. Also, first round draft picks drafted out of college are often advanced enough to skip the Sally League and go straight to Class A+. This was the case with Pedro Alvarez and Gerrit Cole. I will be pinning this post to the site menu and updating it as more players make their major league debuts. Here is the list ranked in order by quickest to go from WV to Pittsburgh:
 

Power Debut Pirates Debut Days to the Majors
Brandon Cumpton 4/7/2011 6/15/2013 800
Chase d’Arnaud 4/9/2009 6/24/2011 806
Phil Irwin 4/8/2010 4/14/2013 1102
Starling Marte 6/26/2009 7/26/2012 1127
Vic Black 5/19/2010 7/25/2013 1166
Kyle McPherson 4/20/2009 8/20/2012 1218
Tony Sanchez 6/30/2009 6/23/2013 1454
Duke Welker 4/9/2009 6/23/2013 1536

 

There you have it. So far just eight West Virginia Power alums have made the jump to the Pirates, though one other player has made the jump to the majors. It took Robbie Grossman 1477 days to go from West Virginia to his debut with the Houston Astros. As for the Gregory Polanco watch, he would have to get called up by June 13, 2014 in order to beat Brandon Cumpton’s record for quickest jump from West Virginia to Pittsburgh.
 

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