Player: Max Pentecost
Drafted by: Toronto Blue Jays
DOB: 03/10/1993 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 190 lbs
School: Kennesaw State
Previously Drafted: Seventh round, 2011 (Rangers)
Heading into his senior year at Winder-Barrow High School in Georgia, Max Pentecost was generating interest as a potential top-five-round selection in the 2011 draft. Unfortunately, he suffered a stress fracture in this throwing elbow early in the spring and subsequently underwent surgery.
Pentecost’s draft stock took a hit as a result, though the Rangers still took a flier on him that June, selecting him in the seventh round (234th overall) of the 2011 draft. However, knowing that he had considerable room to improve once fully healthy, Pentecost chose not to sign with the Rangers and instead honor his previous commitment to Kennesaw State.
After batting .277/.364/.393 in 2012 as a freshman, Pentecost has improved considerably in each of the past seasons and is now poised to be drafted this year in the first round. Though he turned in a breakthrough performance for the Owls as a sophomore, posting a .302/.374/.410 batting line in 56 games, Pentecost didn’t enter the first-round discussion until the summer while playing in the prestigious Cape Cod League. Playing in 35 games for the Bourne Braves, Pentecost batted .346/.424/.538 with seven home runs and deservedly walked away with the league’s MVP award.
Pentecost has taken his game to an entirely new level this spring, as the junior heads into the draft with a robust .423/.483/.631 batting line, 23 doubles, nine home runs, 17 stolen bases (in 19 attempts) and more walks (29) than strikeouts (25) through 62 games. He’s also one of the three finalists for the prestigious Johnny Bench Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate catcher. More importantly, Pentecost’s stellar performance this season is arguably the main reason Kennesaw State is heading into the NCAA super regionals this weekend having won 26 of their last 28 games.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Right-handed hitter with quiet setup and simple swing mechanics; low-maintenance swing; strong wrists and forearms; line-drive-oriented bat path; advanced hitter who looks to drive the ball back up the middle or the other way; has good plate discipline and sticks to an approach; balanced weight transfer allows him to stay back and drive secondary offerings; can handle inner-half velocity.
Projects to have slightly better-than-average power at maturity; most of his pop is to the pull side, and he won’t hesitate to turn around an inside fastball; consistent gap power should make him a doubles machine.
Present 55-grade wheels make him stand out from other catchers in the draft class; impressive athlete who can get down the line in roughly 4.2 to 4.3 seconds; not a base stealer but runs the bases well.
Above-average arm strength; consistently generates pop times in the 1.85- to 1.95-second range; accuracy should improve along with his footwork and catch-and-throw skills.
The 6’1”, 190-pounder’s impressive athleticism translates to excellent mobility behind the plate; moves well laterally; blocking and receiving skills have vastly improved over the past two seasons but will require further development as a professional; shows good hands and feel for calling a game.
MLB Player Comparison: Russell Martin
Pentecost draws comparisons to Russell Martin as well-rounded catcher with impressive athleticism and speed, advanced feel for hitting and excellent makeup. While he doesn't project for as much over-the-fence power as the Pirates' backstop, Pentecost does have the potential to hit for a higher average and should amass plenty of doubles.
Projection: Second-division catcher
Major Leagues ETA: Late 2016
Chances of Signing: 95 percent
Pentecost is the best true catching prospect in this year’s draft class and is expected to sign after coming off the board somewhere in the top 20 picks.