Last summer, the Pirates failed to sign their first-round draft pick before the deadline, losing Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, who turned down $3.8 million while choosing to enter the draft again after playing another year in college.
This year, the Pirates signed their guy -- or, at least, one of them.
The Pirates announced Tuesday the signing of their second first-round pick, catcher Reese McGuire, almost a month ahead of the deadline. The Pirates have signed 16 draft picks, but next on the docket is the compensation pick for not signing Appel last year, high school outfielder Austin Meadows.
Reese McGuire: Signing with Pirates a 'dream come true'
The Pirates held a news conference to announce the signing of 18-year-old catcher Reese McGuire, their 2013 first-round draft pick. McGuire was introduced to the media by Neal Huntington. (Video by Andrew Rush; 6/18/2013)
The Pirates drafted the McGuire, 18, out of high school with their regular pick, No. 14 overall, in the first round. McGuire hit .436 with four home runs and 20 RBIs at Kentwood High School in Covington, Wash., and previously had committed to the University of San Diego before signing.
"Today is another great day for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization," said general manager Neal Huntington at a news conference in PNC Park. "We are looking forward to helping him become the player and man that he believes he can be."
Baseball America had McGuire ranked as the fifth-best position player and 10th-best player overall in the draft after a season in which he won the 2012-13 Gatorade Washington Player of the Year.
Baseball America reported he signed for $2,369,000, which is $200,800 under the assigned value for the 14th overall pick.
"This is a dream come true for all of us as a family," McGuire said. "I couldn't be more proud to become a Pirate, and the confidence for the organization to chose me in the draft is very overwhelming. It's awesome, and I'm looking forward to getting started."
McGuire called his own games in high school, which is rare. He said several times that he is most comfortable behind the plate, even though he played third base and the outfield in summer league last year, so a positional move isn't likely at this point.
His biggest worry Tuesday wasn't his first news conference or signing his contract. The biggest concern was the mandatory drug test, but not for the reason you might think.
"I was a little worried about the urine test, because in the past I've gotten a little stage fright," he said. "It sometimes takes me awhile, so what I was most worried about was how long it was going to take me to go to the bathroom."
Pirates fans aren't likely to see McGuire in the majors for at least three to four seasons. He will start his career with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Pirates, but could advance to Class A short-season Jamestown at the end of their season if he does well in Florida.
Mike Vernon and Bill Brink contributed. First Published June 18, 2013 6:45 PM