Blue Jays top-30 prospects #9: Max Pentecost
Blue Jays catching prospect Max Pentecost comes with plus offensive upside for the position, but his 2016 stock relies entirely on his still-uncertain health
Hon. Mentions Part 1 Hon. Mentions Part 2 #30: Freddy Rodriguez
#29: Evan Smith #28: Deiferson Barreto #27: Chad Girodo
#26: Roemon Fields #25: Rodrigo Orozco #24: Reggie Pruitt
#23: Joe Biagini #22: Carl Wise #21: Tom Robson
#20: Matt Dean #19: Andy Burns #18: Guadalupe Chavez #17: Ryan Borucki
#16: Jose Espada #15: Dan Jansen #14: Dwight Smith Jr. #13: D.J. Davis
#12: Mitch Nay #11: Angel Perdomo #10: Clinton Hollon
Blue Jays 2014 first-round pick Max Pentecost was supposed to be a “safe” pick, relatively speaking. The Kennesaw State star joined the organization with immense offensive talent for a catcher, but through his first two seasons, Pentecost has struggled to step foot on the diamond.
Pentecost’s shoulder has developed into his Achilles heel, with a small surgery earlier in the offseason representing the third procedure he’s had while a member of the Jays. Since being drafted, Pentecost has gone to the plate just 105 times.
Name: Max Pentecost
Position: C Age: 22
Height: 6’2” Age: 191 lbs.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: 2014 Draft, 1st round (11)
Despite those shoulder issues, one thing that Pentecost does have working for him is raw athleticism. Although it’s not ideal for the Blue Jays to be forced into exploring them, this does give the organization options with him positionally.
It’s possible that Pentecost sees some reps at first base or designated hitter in 2016 to get his feet (and prospect value) back under him. This can hold some level of value given that the majority of Pentecost’s potential rests in his bat, but given that he doesn’t hold top-prospect level home run power for the first base position, he’d still be a catcher dressed up as something else.
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Third base and a corner outfield spot could also enter the conversation if the organization thinks he can stay healthy in those spots, but again, that’s losing a significant positional premium of the catcher. Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but a B-level catching prospect carries a lot more value on the trade market than a B-level corner outfielder.
In the best-case scenario, Pentecost rebounds with a healthy 2016 and eventually gets on track to take the torch from Russell Martin a few years down the line.
Worst case? His persistent shoulder issues inhibit him from developing a well-rounded enough game and he’s left to rely on a bat that, while absolutely excellent, may not have the raw home run power to play as a strict first baseman or designated hitter.
Pentecost does remain one of the league’s higher-calibre catching prospects, so any type of season on the field should only improve his stock, especially if he can keep his average in the area of .300 like he’s capable of. Doing so would catapult Pentecost towards the top-5 on this list, but one more injury-riddled season may finally send him south.