Russell Martin: The trickle down effect


I don’t know about you but but the recent addition of Russell Martin caught me completely off guard. Not many Blue Jays fans actually believed that Alex Anthoploulos would sign him. Normally it is just rumour this and rumour that, you know, tire kicking. Boy was I wrong.

Now our boys at Jay Journal have done a great job providing updates on Martin’s signingcontractual breakdown, and what it could mean for Doiner Navarro’s future with this club. Good job guys. Being a huge proponent of prospect development and promoting from with in, I thought it necessary to touch on how this signing will effect Toronto’s minor league system. Particularly the catching prospects.

With Martin signing for 5 years I wanted to pay close attention to the future role and value of  A.J. Jimenez, Derrick Chung, and Max Pentecost.

A.J. Jimenez (25 in May) is the closest catching prospects to making an impact at the Major League level. Jimenez has struggled with injures, which has slowed his development some. He spent last season with New Hampshire and  Buffalo and should be the Bisons starting catcher in 2014. He didn’t light the world on fire with his bat, but that isn’t what he is known for. Jimenez is an excellent catch and throw backstop that can shut down the running game and handles himself very well behind the plate. He is a tweener. He could either be an everyday catcher or a really good backup, but he is a major league catcher.

Derrick Chung (27 in February) split time between Dunedin New Hampshire. Chung is another solid defensive catcher with a cannon for an arm. He does enough with his bat to become a solid backup. I am a fan of Chung (read this) because he reminds me of a Jan Gomes. Ultimately his age will become a factor.

Max Pentecost (22 in March) can best be described as the Blue Jays newest shiny toy. Drafted in the first round of the 2014 Draft, this 6’2″ stud was described as the best all round catcher of the draft. His season was derailed by a wrist injury, but prior to that, he was very impressive.

Having an All-Star catcher blocking the path for A.J. and Chung means that one of them could/should be used as trade bait to fill a need in Toronto. Chung doesn’t have much value in the trade market; therefore, should be held onto to provide catching depth.

Depending on Pentecost’s development, he should be ready to assume the starting catching duties in Toronto by 2018. It’s already been speculated on forums and the local sports radio stations that Martin might not be catching by the end of his contract, which would open the door for Pentecost. The other option is for Max to change positions in the future. Those that have seen him play, Charlie Caskey, insist he will/should stick behind the plate.

Other catching prospects to keep a close eye on, rated in order of my love for them.

Dan Jansen

Sean Ochinko (Huge Dark Horse in 2015)

Michael De Cruz

Matt Morgan

Closing note, Toronto have can kiss their 2015 1st round selection in 2015 good bye. Although, if Melky Cabrera signs elsewhere than Toronto will receive a sandwich pick, which will most likely be an injured pitcher who was recently ranked much higher prior to his injury. This sandwich pick should soften the blow of losing their first round pick.