Max Pentecost’s rise to the Majors has been slowed by a plethora of injuries but he still possesses one of the best sticks in the Blue Jays system. The former first-round pick will get his chance to impress this Spring Training in the big league camp.
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Max Pentecost with the 11th overall pick of the 2014 draft. The catcher out of Kennesaw State performed impressively and even won the MVP award in the Cape Cod League. Once diving into professional baseball he did not skip a beat at the plate. While playing in his debut he batted .324 with four doubles, and 3 triples while driving in twelve runs. Unfortunately, his debut was cut short with a wrist injury which started a trend.
In 2015 Pentecost was ranked highly within the Blue Jays system regardless of having shoulder surgery prior to the season. He would miss the 2015 season while rehabbing from the surgery. He would take a break from catching for the 2016 season but raked at the plate in his Midwest League debut. Baseball America even had him ranked 8th on their prospect list for the Midwest League. His bat was praised during his 62 games as one of the best hitters in the league. He posted a stellar .314 batting average and collected 25 extra base hits. This included 15 doubles, 3 triples, and 7 homers. He also scored 36 times and drove in 34 runners while showing a great approach at the plate.
Position: C / 1B Age: 24
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 191 lbs
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: 11th overall pick 2014 Draft
The great start in Lansing with the Lugnuts led to a promotion to end the season to the Dunedin Blue Jays. He collected 12 hits in his 12 games with the D-Jays and showed some more pop with his bat. He popped three long balls and a pair of doubles while driving in seven runs. This was a great setup for things to come in the 2017 season for Pentecost. With the preview done Pentecost got right to business to open the season. He uncorked six homers and batted .328 in April. He continued to mash in May and posted a .295 batting average with 25 RBI’s. June he suffered the first of two injuries that landed him on the DL but continued to perform exceptionally well when he was healthy.
Pentecost finished off a great season with a .274 batting average in 74 games. He showed off plenty of power with nine home runs, fourteen doubles, and two triples. The power translated to 34 runs scored and 54 RBIs. This has earned Pentecost an invite to Spring Training where he will hope his bat will continue to earn him a chance to move up the ranks in the Blue Jays system.
He has a great swing that generates effortless power. The power comes from a very quick lean back in his swing just before he takes a small drive with his front foot. His hands follow quickly and move through the zone with marvelous speed. He has a natural lift to his swing that gives him solid power to the gaps. As shown in the video he has plus pop to all fields which allows him to be troublesome for opposing pitchers.
It is tough to gauge where Pentecost could land to start this season. His approach at the plate appears to be ready for a solid challenge. The only issue that could hold him back is how his health will allow him to perform. He played in just 19 games at catcher and 22 at first base in 2017 while spending 30 at the DH spot. He will need to show that he can play one of those positions for a good chunk of the season. This could land him in Double-A to play for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to start the season. The Spring Training invite will allow him to train with the big boys and he will get a chance to show off his hitting prowess. If he impresses in this opportunity the sky could be the limit for this talented hitter.
#15: C Hagen Danner