There appears to be a curse on the Toronto Blue Jays backup catcher. It doesn’t seem to matter which player is occupying the role, they suck
While ‘they suck’ might be a little harsh, it is accurate.
We all remember Josh Thole, well even he produced more during his three seasons in a Blue Jays uniform than Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Raffy Lopez, Luke Maile, Miguel Montero, and Mike Ohlman in 2017. While the sample size isn’t large, it is clear there is a problem.
So what’s the solution?
Before anyone feels it necessary to point out the obvious, I know that Max Pentecost is injured…..yet again. I also know that Pentecost has a total of zero at-bats above Advance-A ball. Lastly, I know that Pentecost has not been playing as a catcher for the past three season.
With that out of the way, let me tell you why I feel that Max Pentecost would be a perfect fit as the Blue Jays backup catcher.
When the Toronto Blue Jays selected Pentecost 11th overall in 2014, prior to all the shoulder surgeries and DL time, Max was considered an athletic player who profiled as an offensive catcher. Scouts cautioned teams, stating that Max Pentecost catch and throw game needed work. With so much time missed to injury and limited time actually catching, Pentecost still has work to do in this area.
Pentecost won’t be called upon to catch every day. Maybe 40-60 games. If Russell Martin were to sustain a serious injury which required a stint on the disabled list, the Blue Jays could call upon 2017 breakout Danny Jansen or Reese McGuire.
Now, you don’t want a player as talented as Max Pentecost sitting on the bench for the other 100-120 games. This is where Pentecost value as a backup catcher starts to take shape. He has also seen time at 1st and DH in 2017. Of the 71 games, he’s played for the Dunedin Blue Jays this season 39 were in the field with 20 coming behind the plate.
Again, before you jump all over me about Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales being signed through 2018 and Smoak having an option which everyone seems to forget. I know. Things change. Deals are made in the offseason. Smoak could regress. Anything can happen or nothing can happen.
Pentecost can spell Smoak at first and Morales at DH.
Another benefit to having Pentecost fill the backup catcher role for the Blue Jays is the experience he could get from one of the best backstops in the game. If Pentecost’s shoulder ever returns to 100% or his back stops tightening up, or he stops having hamstring issues….whatever the issues are…Pentecost could still develop beyond the role of backup catcher. He could still fulfill the Jason Kendall projections that scouts predicted prior to being drafted.
Max Pentecost missed a month between June 10th and July 7th and is unlikely to return after landing on the DL again, retroactive to August 8th. Everything before June 10th and after July 7th was gravy. Pentecost owns a .274 batting average with 14 doubles, 2 triples, 9 HR, .330 OBP, and .761 OPS.
While this may be pie in the sky thinking and asking too much from a guy yet to experience Double-A or Triple-A. Pentecost will be 25-yr-old when spring training gets underway next year and has shown the ability to hit at every level. His bat is not my concern. His play behind the plate will dictate whether the Kennesaw State alumni could stick in the major leagues…..that and health.
Flexibility is something many teams are focusing on when acquiring talent. We saw it with the Pittsburgh Pirates came to town. The Pirates had John Jaso, Josh Harrison, Sean Rodriguez, Adam Frazier, and Josh Bell as guys that could play more than one position. Pentecost’s ability to play behind the plate, at 1st, and DH could be invaluable.
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.