Toronto Blue Jays 2017 top prospects: #17, C Max Pentecost

Oct 4, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays hat and glove lay in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays hat and glove lay in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

After missing the 2015 season due to shoulder issues Max Pentecost finally got to show off his talents at the plate.

Max Pentecost put the pedal to the metal after being drafted first round of the 2014 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.  He initially played in 25 games between the Golf Coast League Blue Jays and Vancouver Canadians.  He hit .324 in those games with 17 runs scored and 12 RBI.  This debut got the Blue Jays organization excited for the future with Pentecost.

After the solid 2014 debut, though, Pentecost was sidelined for the entire 2015 season due to a shoulder injury.  He had surgery in February of 2015 and did not return to game action for 16 months.  Due to the amount of work done to fix his shoulder the organization opted to give him a year off of catching.  He opened 2016 with the Lansing Lugnuts and was the team’s designated hitter for the season.

Name: Max Pentecost
Position: C        Age: 23
Height: 6’2″    Weight: 191 lbs.
Throws: Right            Bats: Right
Acquired: First round draft pick (11th overall) 2014 Draft

Before Pentecost was drafted by the Blue Jays, many scouts agreed that he was the best pure catcher going into the 2014 draft.  After the solid debut in 2014 the Jays believed that the scouts were 100% right.  After the 2015 missed season. the Jays were just looking forward to getting him back in the batters box.

With the Lansing Lugnuts Pentecost proved why everyone should be patient with his recovery.  He played 62 games with the Lugnuts and did nothing but impress at the dish, batting .314 with 36 runs scored and 34 RBI.

With Pentecost back in the lineup as a DH it was nice to see how mature he was at the plate.  He was able to keep his on-base percentage at .375 for his single-A debut.  This was the highest OBP for the Lugnuts’ regular players.  He also led the regulars with a .490 slugging percentage.  He collected 15 doubles, three triples, and seven homers in those 62 games with Lansing.  This production earned Pentecost a shot at high-A ball with the Dunedin Blue Jays to end the season.

In Dunedin, Pentecost’s numbers trailed off slightly.  In a quick 12-game look, Pentecost was only able to hit .245 but did continue to show some power with three home runs and a pair of doubles during the short span.  The showing of home run power is a good sign because many people expected Pentecost to be more of a gap-to-gap hitter.  As he has matured it appears that he could posses some more pop then many expected.

You can see why Pentecost might could develop some solid power at the plate.  In the video he hits the ball off the end of the bat and it still sails over the left-centre wall.  Pentecost has a quick load and step.  You see him throw his body weight quickly to his back leg as he sways just before the pitch is thrown.  He then takes a quick step which is followed by his hands flowing to the ball.  He is quick to the ball and does not have any wasted movement in his stroke.  This is a very sustainable swing and has been a big factor in how well he has performed over the last year.

Expect Pentecost to start the 2017 season in Dunedin.  It is currently unknown if (or when) he will get a chance to become an everyday catcher again heading forward.  The Blue Jays could ease him back into the role and do a 50-50 platoon with another catcher in Dunedin.  This could allow Pentecost to get used to being back behind the dish without having to worry about his health.  Pentecost still projects well as a catcher but there has been some whispers of possibly moving him to first base.

If Pentecost continues to hit well the Jays organization will have to find a place for him to play everyday.  Due to the injuries to his shoulder it will be interesting to see how he performs again behind the plate.  He was once a highly-rated defensive player along with his strong bat.  Everyone has seen that Pentecost definitely has a great stick at the plate so the rest of his game will hopefully be on display this season.  We could see him in New Hampshire before long if he hits like he has been.

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Top-30 Blue Jays prospect rankings:
#30: RHP Jordan Romano     #29: RHP Yennsy Diaz     #28: CF Reggie Pruitt
#27: 1B Ryan McBroom     #26: CF Roemon Fields     #25: 2B Cavan Biggio
#24: RHP Jose Espada     #23: RHP Patrick Murphy     #22: C Danny Jansen
#21: OF Dwight Smith Jr.     #20: RHP Zach Jackson     #19: RHP Francisco Rios
#18: OF Harold Ramirez