The Draft: Looking at Deck McGuire and Kolbrin Vitek.

   Chris Buckley tells John Fay that for Monday’s first round draft pick the Reds have zeroed in on five players: Deck McGuire, Christian Colon, Gary Brown, Alex Wimmers and Kolbrin Vitek. We’ve looked at Colon, Brown and Wimmers here recently, so today let’s examine McGuire and Vitek.

   McGuire is a 6-foot-6, 218-pound RHP from Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets’ No. 3 starter as a freshman, he has been their ace the last two seasons. This season, McGuire went 8-3 with a 2.83 ERA. In 14 games, all starts, and 99 innings, McGuire struck out 105, walked 27 and allowed 83 hits.


   McGuire made a name for himself in 2009 when he was one of the premier hurlers in the country before a late-season swoon that has carried over somewhat into this season. Scouts who once envisioned a top of the rotation big leaguer now see a No. 3 or No. 4 starter.


   McGuire effectively throws downhill and features strong command of a fastball that sits 90-92 m.p.h. and has reached 94. The pitch has some sink but lacks much movement. He keeps the ball down. McGuire is a strike thrower, getting his curve and slider over. The slider has potential to be above average, maybe even plus. McGuire’s change is described as fringe-average but he has a feel for it and the pitch could eventually be above average. Big and broad, McGuire is a decent athlete.


   McGuire is competitive, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, and buckles down with runners on base. A durable, bright youngster, McGuire has struggled in big games, particularly in the postseason. A safe pick with a limited ceiling, McGuire is expected to be selected in the top half of the first round. Most mocks have him being taken before the Reds pick at No. 12.


   Vitek, a 6-3, 195-pound second baseman from Ball State, profiles more as an outfielder in pro ball. He lacks pure middle infield actions and several teams envision him as a CF, where his speed could play. Most believe if  he can’t handle center, his bat is good enough for a corner OF spot. Versatile, Vitek has played 2B, 3B, OF, DH and has pitched, leading the Mid-American Conference in ERA.


   Vitek’s value is in his bat. This draft lacks depth of premium college hitters and the native of Bryan, Ohio, certainly is one of the better bats available. This season he hit 17 home runs, drove in 68 and batted .368/.445/.691, with 71 runs scored, 20 doubles and three triples. Vitek was 16-for-20 on stolen bases and fielded .962.


   Vitek won the triple crown in the Great Lakes League last summer and batted .400. He compares favorable to former Notre Dame OF A.J. Pollock, a first-round pick and 17th overall selection by the Diamondbacks a year ago. Vitek, however, is regarded as more physical than Pollock. Vitek is a better runner underway than he is out of the box, with plenty of speed to be an effective base stealer. He runs the bases very well, features a short swing, excellent bat speed and a solid-average arm. Vitek’s track record of hitting makes him attractive.


   Vitek uses his quick hands to consistently get the barrell of the bat on the ball. He projects as an above average hitter with at least average power that could be plus. Vitek would be a pro prospect as a pitcher but has too much bat for teams to consider him on the mound.


   Most mocks have Vitek gone before No. 12, with San Diego reportedly showing great interest in him at No. 9.

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