Bowden Says That McGeary Will Play Full Season
Since the day he was drafted in 2007, Jack McGeary has been the most unorthodox of Washington prospects. A sixth-round pick, he was paid like a first-round pick -- with a $1.8 bonus. He'd just graduated high school, and wanted to go to Stanford. But because of Washington's offer, McGeary, a left-handed pitcher, tried a delicate compromise: He would go to college, but also be a professional ballplayer. So, during his school year, he couldn't play baseball for the Cardinal. And he couldn't play in the minors until June, after his school year had ended.
Well, Nats GM Jim Bowden said yesterday in a radio interview with Baseball Prospectus's Will Carroll that McGeary has decided to play baseball full-time this season. Such a decision would accelerate McGeary's career development, and boost the odds that Washington's 2007 draft gamble turns into a big reward. Those in the McGeary camp, though, are emphasizing that no official decision has yet been made, and that McGeary remains at Stanford for the time being. "It's rumor at this point," McGeary's father, Pat, said this morning. "I think it would be premature for me to say anything."
In a recent list, Baseball Prospectus named McGeary, 19, as Washington's fifth-best prospect -- but that was a projection that assumed he'd be playing half-seasons for the next two years, until his graduation from Stanford in 2010. By most accounts, McGeary has the talent of a first-round pick.
If you want to hear the Bowden interview, follow this link. The comments on McGeary come at about the two-third point.
I have transcribed the full exchange.
Carroll: One of the more fascinating prospects in your system is lefty Jake [sic] McGeary. You gave him a big bonus out of high school, but he's still going to Stanford, so last year and for the next two coming he's not available for you until June. Can you talk about some of the development challenges that creates and what about his talent made you comfortable with that unique situation?
Bowden: Well, sure Will, first of all, you're wrong with your information. Jack has told us that he wants to play baseball full-time now, so we expect him to report to spring training on time and continue a full season of his development. And we said when we signed the player that we felt after a short period of time that he would decide to play baseball full-time. So we were very pleased when his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, informed us that Jack had made a decision to do that. We're very excited about it. Obviously he's a strong, big left-hander. He's only 19 years old, he'll throw it 88 to 91 mph, he's got an incredible curveball that buckles you, he's got a chance to be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the big leagues. His make-up is off the charts -- I mean, you can't find better make-up than this kid. He's extremely brilliant, intelligent, he makes adjustment. And you know, he went in the Gulf Coast League, he led the league in strikeouts with 64, he led the league with 12 starts and of course second in innings pitched with 59-2/3. He punched out 9.7 guys per nine innings. So, for a young kid to accomplish that as a teenager we were very pleased. He's dedicated, and this is a guy who really in a short period of time is the type of guy that, being left-handed, has the potential to fly through an organization.
January 24, 2009; 12:06 PM ET
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