Andy McGuire looks like one of those kids that was born to play baseball. He’s blessed with all of the tools for stardom. He’s got the size and the body–with a 6’2″ 200-pound frame that looks like it was carved out of marble by Michelangelo–to go with all of the money tools. He has serious strength, bat-speed and bat control, and he hits for average and gets on-base at a Moneyball clip. He also has big-league home-run potential, the kind that could produce 20+ bombs and tons of extra-base hits.
McGuire is a tremendous athlete, with above-average speed and balance. At shortstop, he also has a cannon arm–one of the best in the 2013 draft class–to go with soft hands and surprising range and body control for his size. He’s got the tangibles, the intangibles–everything. He’s even a great teammate–with a notorious sense of humor. But come game time, he’s all business, playing with a fierce, loud, head-first style that resembles Bryce Harper’s.
As expected from this kind of talent, Andy has already put together quite the amateur career. As a sophomore (2011), he hit .333 with a .400 on-base percentage and he stole ten bases in 11 attempts, and also posted a sparkling 1.03 ERA on the mound as the Warhawks’ closer. His performance attracted waves of attention from top college programs, and he was offered scholarships from the best-of-the-best. Atop the list of teams vying for McGuire was South Carolina, Virginia, Florida–and Texas. Staying true to the his gamer attitude, McGuire could bypass a chance to play for the Longhorns, who are a storied collegiate team and have the most wins in College World Series history.
By the time he was fifteen, McGuire had already taken his game onto the showcase circuit. By the time Texas got a hold of him, he was already a brand name. Over the previous summer, he flashed a cannon arm and impressive hitting skills at the 2010 PG 15U National Championship, and then stole the spotlight at the Mid-Atlantic Indoor Showcase a few months after that. Scouts in attendance watched as he out-performed his peers in nearly every drill, and then dominated when it was game-time. He clocked one of the top 30-yard dash times, topped out at 86 mph off the mound, threw 81 mph across the infield, and turned heads with his bat speed when he turned on a 90 mph heater.
Following his sophomore season, McGuire continued to grow and improve. That June, he attended the 2011 PG Junior National showcase, and clocked the third-best velocity from the outfield–93 mph–and also threw a career-best 86 mph from third base to first. By that time, he’d already grown to 6’1″, and his frame was producing plenty of pop. Scouts raved about his clean, simple swing, and feel for contact. Completing the five-tool profile, his wheels impressed too, as he out-ran Clint Frazier with a 6.88 60-time.
McGuire’s best performance up until that point came in August 2011, though. While he’d already shown the kind of athlete he was–one with superb measurables and consistently solid performances–he really broke out during the 2011 PG Nationals while facing-off against the nation’s top arms. Playing for the East Team, he went 4-for-4, scored six runs and reached base eight times in eight plate appearances. He drove Trey Cobb’s 90 mph fastball to the centerfield wall for a double in the first inning, and collected a couple of hits off of top southpaw A.J. Puk. McGuire was honored as the game’s MVP for his performance, beating out Justin Bellinger.
Heading into 2012, McGuire faced lofty expectations. He was named a named a Rawlings First-Team Pre-season All-American, as well as All-State by ESPN. However, a nagging hip injury ended up slowing him down for much of the season. Though he chose to play through it, his limited mobility forced him to man the DH spot and slot in at first base more often. His batting average sat above .400 for much of the season, and he set a career-high with three homers. However, as the season wore on, he slowed down considerably and lost significant flexibility in his actions. His team’s performance was down a little bit as well. The Warhawks put together a typically strong 15-6 regular-season record, but were upset by Langley in the first-round of the district AAA tournament. To cap it all off, McGuire was ultimately passed over for the all-district team at shortstop–though he did make it as a designated hitter.
Clearly the disappointment was only relative, as McGuire was still playing at a high level. And over the summer, he continued where he left off a year before that. He fought through the pain and once again posted one of the best infield velocities at the PG National Showcase–this time 90 mph–and railed his share of hard liners at the Metrodome. He performed similarly well with the Blue Jays scout team at East Coast Pro, however at both events his speed was well below his previous levels–clocking 60 times in the 7.1-7.3 range.
In spite of the injury, McGuire was selected by the Team USA to be a member of their 18U National Team. He helped lead the club to the IBAF 18U World National Championship in Seoul South Korea, and took home a Gold Medal for his contributions. He’d also performed excellently in the tournament of stars, going 8-for-13 with three doubles and a triple. However, after returning home from his run with Team USA, he immediately went under the knife to remove a piece of bone in his hip, and also had his (pelvic-socket) labrum repaired.
Following a sixth-month recovery, McGuire returned to the field completely rejuvenated. He entered his senior-season as a Rawlings 1st Team All-American (Atlantic Region 1st Team), and led the Warhawks to a 19-1 regular-season record. He hit a hefty .439/.549/.596 with eight extra-base hits and 19 runs scored, and after collecting four multi-hit games in the last five regular-season games in May, he took the Warhawks to their third District championship and four years. Then in the Northern Region Playoffs, they trounced Edison high school in the first round, but followed with a lost to the Lake Braddock Bruins a game later. The defeat was their first since dropping the season opener, and it finally ended their winning streak at 22 consecutive games.
McGuire finished his high school baseball career as one of the top prospects in Virginia, and a Madison Warhawks legend. Aside from his long list of awards and accolades, he also left a long-lasting mark on the program. He was a four-year varsity player and led his team a 56-14 overall record over his final three seasons. As a senior, the Hawks peaked with a number-20 national ranking (Baseball America) at the end of May, and were voted the top team (over Dematha) in the DC metro area by the Washignton Post as well. Tabbed a born leader by coach Mike Gjormand, McGuire even helped the skipper secure his 300th career win by collecting 3 hits in a victory over South Lakes high on May 1st.
Now, as McGuire prepares for draft-day 2013, he faces a very difficult life decision. He’s committed to play baseball for his dream school, the Texas Longhorns, and one of the most storied teams in collegiate sports. And as a good student with a 3.0 GPA and strong SAT scores–and a mother that attended Georgetown University–McGuire clearly feels his academic career is important. But given his talent, it’s also likely that he’ll earn a very lucrative signing bonus offer from a Major League franchise somewhere in the first three or four rounds of June 4th’s draft. Decisions, decisions…
Scout footage of James Madison Warhawks shortstop Andy McGuire playing against nearby Marshall high in April, 2013.
When he’s healthy, McGuire is armed with all-five tools–plus great makeup and a hard-nosed approach. He has a near-deal build, with a big, square-shouldered frame a broad chest, thick-but-long legs and huge hands. He already has very developed muscles in his upper and lower body, but still has the kind of country physique that should have no problem adding more bulk without sacrificing too much flexibility and quickness.
Though he’s not a quick-twitch guy, McGuire is remarkably nimble and active. He’s a pure athlete, and he has also lettered in swimming and football during his four-years at Madison. For his size, he has rare body control and balance, able to make tough plays look easy with smooth, fluid motions in the field. Now that he’s fully recovered from his hip injury, he has once again exhibited solid lateral range. He plays low to the ground, and is very good making glove-side picks as he moves toward the second-base hole. His length affords him great extension and he’s very good at making snaring hard choppers up the middle. His back-handed motions are solid too, as his hands are some of the softest of the draft class.
McGuire is very good at coming in on the ball, and his rifle arm-strength helps him make laser throws with a very quick, abbreviated release. He’s an aggressive fielder and isn’t afraid to take the ball off of a short-hop, though his arm does buy him an extra few moments when he needs it. Ultimately, he’s probably not a pro shortstop, as his size is going to become limiting as he grow and develops. His feet are active, but he doesn’t have the first-step quickness of the prototypical professional middle infielder. However, at third base, he’s almost tailor-made for the position. His plus-plus arm gives him great carry on his throws, and he’s extraordinarily accurate–posting a .949 fielding percentage last season. His balance, reach and soft-hands will also play very well at the hot corner, and his ability to make quality throws from tough angles (against his body weight) could eventually make him a top-tier gloveman.
At the plate, McGuire is essentially a contact hitter stuck inside of a slugger’s body. He takes a very patient, professional approach into the box and exhibits some of the best pitch recognition at the level. He rarely swings and misses, works the count in his favor and makes tons of loud contact. His swing mechanics however, are largely reliant on his upper-body. Aside from his vision, his best attribute is his hand strength, which gives him plus bat control. He’s very quick on inside pitches, but is also comfortable taking off-speed to the opposite field.
McGuire does have the strength and bat-speed to eventually grow into solid big-league pop. There’s a slugger in that body just screaming to get out. However, he’ll need to learn to start staying back on pitches better and use his core muscles to accelerate the stick. He has great hitter’s hands, so it would really help his case if he can learn to pull the bat closer to his body as he rotates his hips. For the most part though, these mechanical flaws are common among top high school prospects–they’re generally a product of metal bats–and he shouldn’t have too much trouble refining his swing. Eventually, if he can learn to keep his front shoulder closed longer, he should be able to create some nice bat whip–enough for 20-home-run big-league power somewhere down the line.
McGuire was developing in to a plus runner before his hip issues, and since the surgery, his foot-speed has largely returned. He posted 6.8-second sixty-yard dash times in the 2011 offseason, but fell all the way to 7.3 seconds last summer. This spring though, I clocked him consistently between 4.2 and 4.3 seconds from home-plate to first base, which essentially means he’s an above-average runner out of the box. Just like he plays the rest of the game, he runs full-speed every-time he puts the ball in play, and he’s proven himself to be a smart and efficient base-stealer over the years. But, unless he manages to stay in the middle infield at higher levels, his running speed won’t ever be an important part of his game. Andy is getting drafted for his potential to be a complete hitter and an impact defender at third base. Still, his wheels should combine nicely with his line-drive pop, helping him post nice extra-base hit totals.
A local product, McGuire has been scouted heavily by the Washington Nationals over the past two years, and if he doesn’t end up fulfilling his commitment to Texas, he may very well end up in DC. His talent warrants an end-of-first or a second-round draft pick, but because of last summer’s hip surgery and his commit to the Longhorns, he’ll probably fall somewhere between the second and fifth rounds come June 6th. It’s hard to see him falling much further than that, as he offers every team something. His tools, makeup and overall polish score well on paper and in interviews, and even teams that don’t love drafting high school bats will like his on-base skills. Plus his stint with Team USA and extensive showcase resume will keep him fresh in the minds of scouts across the country.