Jays From the Couch Takes a Look at the 2017 season that was for Blue Jays prospect, Max Pentecost
The year two-thousand and seventeen would prove to be an important one for future Blue Jays catcher (?) Max Pentecost. This season, Pentecost was still battling back from shoulder surgery in 2015 that kept him sidelined until May of 2016. But Pentecost has no quit in his name, and 2017 saw him get back behind the plate and explore his positional flexibility at first base as well.
Pentecost picked up where he left off in 2016, playing most of the season with the Dunedin Blue Jays, splitting time at catchers with Danny Jansen and Michael De La Cruz, as well as first base with Juan Kelley. He played 22 games at first base, 19 behind the plate and the rest at DH. Prior to Danny Jansen’s first promotion this season, it was difficult to earn time behind the dish with Dunedin’s crowded catcher corps.
|A+ (||A+ (||A+ (||Minors||83||366||335||40||91||16||2||12||61||1||2||26||79||.272||.326||.439||.765||2|
|Rk (||Rk (||Rk (||Minors||7||24||24||2||8||2||0||0||3||0||1||0||3||.333||.333||.417||.750||0|
In what was supposed to be his first full season back from shoulder surgery, Pentecost played 71 games games for High-A Dunedin and one with the GCL Jays on a rehab stint. The Dunedin Blue Jays were a formidable offense in 2017, and Pentecost played a significant role, batting .276/.332/.434 and posting a solid .761 OPS+. he showed his power once again, knocking nine home runs, one shy of his career-high set in 2016 – which he set in two more games.
With just over 170 games played in the minors, we can finally extrapolate a 162-game average from the catcher prospect once ranked 9th overall by MLB.com. What comes to light is a 20-HR and 100-RBI potential, which is absolutely something to dream on when considering even mediocre defense from a catcher.
Two separate stints on the Florida State League disabled list in 2017 limited Pentecost, yet again, to only 72 games. Injuries are clearly a problem for Pentecost, and one has to wonder if this will limit his value going forward, as so much of his projection is based on his elite position ability as a catcher. While no one in their right mind would move a player like Pentecost out from behind the plate after only 170 career minor-league games, it might be something to explore down the road if the Blue Jays really want to get his bat in the lineup.
Looking Ahead to 2018
Currently, Pentecost is assigned to the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League (Go Pigs, beat them Gougers!), mostly to get more reps on to his oft-injured frame. He’s nearly five years above the average age for the league at 24 years and seven-ish months, so he shouldn’t have too much of a problem with the youth-driven domestic league.
In 2018, Pentecost is likely to start with Double-A New Hampshire, as his advancement needs to begin eventually, and he’s seemingly mastered High-A. If Max Power has a good season and manages to remain healthy, he could definitely see a promotion to Triple-A Buffalo by midsummer and to the MLB Jays by September. Still, the Jays management would probably want to see around 600-800 plate appearances before a promotion, and his injuries have limited him to just 366 so far, a number that seems extremely low since he was drafted almost four seasons ago at this point.
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