TAYLOR GUSHUE, CATCHER
|Born: December 19, 1993
Drafted: 4th Round, 131st Overall, 2014
How Acquired: Draft
College: University of Florida
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Gushue when drafted was thought to have the potential to be a solid all-around catcher. He has an average arm and quick release, although he threw out only 20% of base stealers in college in 2014. With Mike Zunino at Florida, Gushue didn’t get a chance to catch until his sophomore season. He has a compact swing from both sides and scouts thought he had a chance to increase his power. Baseball America characterized him as a below-average hitter with average raw power. He improved steadily at the plate during his three years at Florida, with his first really good year coming in his junior year. He was just the equivalent age of a sophomore, so the college stats may not totally reflect his ability. Gushue graduated early from high school and went straight to Florida, so he was never eligible for the draft as a prep player. He was eligible for the first time when the Pirates selected him and was young for a college draftee. Baseball America rated Gushue the 109th best prospect in the draft. He signed shortly after the draft for the slot amount.
Gushue got off to a fast start, batting 333/484/729 in June and hitting four of his five HRs in his first five games. He slumped after that, posting an OPS of just .662 in July and .452 in August. That’s not an unusual pattern; hitters will often get off to fast starts in the NYPL before the more advanced pitchers drafted out of college start to pitch many innings. Gushue had trouble with LHPs, posting a .625 OPS against them, as opposed to .769 against RHPs. He at least controlled the strike zone well. He threw out 23% of base stealers. Gushue played sporadically in August, appearing in only 16 games. I’m not sure exactly why.
Gushue was the regular catcher at West Virginia and had a rough season. He struggled throughout the season’s first four months, posting monthly OPS totals between .552 and .616 in all of them before batting 288/358/466 in August. He was better hitting right-handed, but still had only a .685 OPS from that side, compared to .605 from the left side. He threw out 27% of base stealers, but had 24 passed balls.
Gushue spent the year as the starting catcher at Bradenton and, at the plate, had almost exactly the same year as the year before. He got off to a good start, posting an OPS of .835, but he slumped in May and never recovered. He didn’t strike out a great deal, but he’s had chronically low BABIPs (.272, .280 and .260 in his three seasons), probably due in part to a lack of speed, and the hoped-for power hasn’t developed to make up for it. He hit just a little better from the left side this time. His defense improved, although he still had 14 passed balls. He threw out 25% of base stealers.
Gushue hasn’t had much success so far, but the Pirates may want to move him up to Altoona anyway, as they’ll probably want Christian Kelley to get regular playing time at Bradenton.
|2017: Minor league contract
|Signing Bonus: $388,800
MiLB Debut: 2014
MiLB FA Eligible: 2020
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2017
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 6, 2014: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 4th round, 131st overall pick; signed on June 12.|