Before Reese McGuire can think too much about the MLB Draft, he wants to lead Kentwood High School to another state championship. The highly touted catcher helped the Conquerors win the 4A (Washington’s largest classification) title last year, and another trophy would cap an unforgettable senior season.
“The season is great,” McGuire told me. “We got first in league, so it was awesome. Our pitching stepped up and everyone has done their part to make the team better.”
Even though he’s focused on “the now,” McGuire isn’t afraid to look ahead to the MLB Draft in a few weeks.
“This next month is going to be pretty sweet,” he said.
There’s plenty of reason for excitement. McGuire, listed at 6’1″ and 195 pounds, is considered one of the best high school players in the country. He was named a preseason All-American and was also tabbed the USA Baseball Player of the Year after hitting .400 with 4 doubles and 11 runs batted in for Team USA at the IBAF 18U World Championship in September.
“This game is everything I’ve known,” said McGuire. “This was my favorite sport as a kid. I was playing basketball and football, but just always had that extra love and passion for this game. I’m truly blessed to come out to the field every day. I don’t take it for granted.”
Baseball America ranked McGuire as the fourth best draft-eligible high school prospect (and the top prep catcher) in the nation before the season started. Some experts have him going early in the first round (as high as 6th overall to the Miami Marlins), while others have McGuire pegged late in the first round. One thing is in common — he’ll be snatched up quickly.
“As a kid I was like, ‘Man, I want to be a professional baseball player,’ McGuire told me. “I never really thought it could come after high school. Just growing up and getting that exposure, it opened up my eyes to a different route.”
McGuire’s original plan was to go to college. That’s why he committed to the University of San Diego. The Teroros would love nothing more than for McGuire to head south next season, but now he has a tough decision to make. Will he play college or professional baseball?
“It’s a win-win situation either way,” McGuire said. “As of right now, I have an awesome school lined up, and that was the path. If something special happens during the draft, which I hope so, then it’s going to be my decision with my family and my advisor. We’re going to do what’s best.”
Scouts rave about McGuire’s tools. He has speed, he can hit for average and power (he hit .417 with 3 home runs and 16 RBI in 24 games at Kentwood this year), but nothing tops McGuire’s skills behind the plate. His high school coach Mark Zender, who’s been coaching for 30 years, says McGuire is the most talented player he’s ever had, and he believes Reese is “major league ready defensively right now.”
“When I’m behind the dish, I feel like I’m at home,” said McGuire. “I just think I have good leadership back there. I’m the only guy facing the field, and I get a good bond with the pitcher. That reverts to offense and being a leader with the bat too.”
There’s no arguing the future is bright for Reese McGuire. A defensive-minded catcher who can swing the bat is one of the most coveted jewels in the game. McGuire is humble, he has a good head on his shoulders, and more than enough talent to have a long, successful career in professional baseball.
Have you ever watched Reese McGuire on the baseball field? What did you think of him? Where do you think he’ll go in the MLB Draft? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You should also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, music and more!
P.S. This is a story I put together on Reese McGuire for my television station. Take a look for more on the MLB Draft prospect: