"I had a chance to watch them a little before my [first] start," said McGuire, talking about Double-A batters. "They just don't chase as many pitches and you don't get away with many mistakes. There more disciplined and they make you pay for every mistake."
Fortunately, McGuire is not a pitcher who makes a lot of mistakes. McGuire tossed seven innings, allowing only three earned runs and picking up the win in his Double-A debut. It was a start in which McGuire struggled to control all of his pitches, but was able to show that he has the stuff to win games.
Fisher Cats Pitching Coach Pete Walker has a word for what makes McGuire a special pitcher.
"I don't think one thing jumps out, it's all very good, he has a lot of pitchability," said Walker. "Pitchability, he has four pitches that he uses, they're all for strikes, he keeps them down in the zone and is able to keep hitters off balance."
This pitchability, or ability to know how to get outs was even more important during McGuire's first start, as he didn't have his curveball, one of his best pitches working for him that day.
"He was fighting himself a little bit on it," said Walker of McGuire's curveball during his first start. "In the bullpen [session] it was outstanding. I think that pitch is outstanding, and I think if he'll keep on refining it and it'll keep getting better."
McGuire himself has described his curveball as his secret weapon, a pitch he can get a batter off-balance and out with.
"The curveball has become a little more of an out-pitch as of late," said McGuire. "It's just another weapon with two strikes to stay ahead in the count."
Getting ahead in the count has been a big part of the way McGuire pitches, but the biggest thing he's been working on since he was drafted is keeping his pitches down in the zone, especially his fastball.
"It's the one thing our organization really harps on is keeping the ball down," said McGuire. "When I got here I was probably in the lower half of being able to do that.
"It's one thing that Dunedin pitching coach Darold Knowles and I really worked on. Keeping the fastball down in the zone, only elevating when you want it too and it's definitely gotten better."
For now, that's still the problem that McGuire and Walker are working on in. Once McGuire is able to control his pitches the way he wants though he should become a dangerous force and at only 22, he is a young talent that could certainly be in the starting rotation for Toronto one day.
Now, it's just a matter of cleaning up some small blemishes, which is much better than fixing a major issue.
"I think its a few different things, nothing stands out," said Walker of McGuire's weaknesses. "I think he needs to continue to pitch, continue to face good hitters. Fastball location will improve, I assume, along with the off speed stuff and his breaking ball."
McGuire Tweaking Some Things
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