The Toronto Blue Jays selected two collegiate players with their first two picks of the 2014 MLB first-year player draft. Toronto took right-handed pitcher Jeff Hoffman with the ninth overall pick and then snagged catcher Max Pentecost with the No. 11 pick.
Let’s take a quick look at both of these players, starting with Hoffman.
Heading into the draft, Hoffman was being touted as one of the top college arms available. Many scouts were even considering him as a candidate to go first overall.
Unfortunately for the East Carolina product, he injured his elbow shortly before the draft and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. This seriously hurt his stock, as teams became hesitant to use their top picks to draft a pitcher coming off an elbow injury.
The Blue Jays likely aren’t complaining, though, as they got a chance to draft a top talent with the No. 9 pick. Toronto could also afford to take a risk by drafting Hoffman because it had a second pick in the first round.
Before his injury, Hoffman was lighting up radar guns with his mid- to high-90s fastball that topped out at 98 mph. He also had one of the best power curveballs in the draft. Scouts believed that he would reach the majors quickly thanks to his two plus pitches and his above-average control.
Rehabbing from Tommy John surgery will cost the 21-year-old Hoffman this entire season. If his recovery goes according to plan, he should make his professional debut in the minor leagues next season and be ready to compete for a spot on the big league team in 2016.
While Hoffman was a high-risk, high-reward pick, Pentecost was a much more predictable selection.
The 21-year-old junior out of Kennesaw State was considered to be one of the top catchers in the draft. He should add some much-needed depth to a Toronto farm system that has become devoid of high-end catching prospects over these past couple of seasons.
While catchers are often big and bulky, Pentecost is very athletic and nimble for his position. He runs well and has a good throwing arm from behind the plate. His receiving skills need improvement, though.
At the plate, the right-handed batter has showed an ability to make contact with the ball and hit for a high average. On the downside, he has below-average power and won’t be much of a home run hitter in the majors.
Overall, Pentecost is a very safe pick, and his above-average athleticism for a catcher should translate well at the major league level. Already being a polished ballplayer, he should move quickly thorough the Blue Jays’ farm system.