After picking RHP Jeff Hoffman out of ECU only moments ago, the Blue Jays have selected catcher Max Pentecost out of Kennesaw State University with their second pick in the first round of the MLB Draft at 11th overall. This pick was, of course, compensation for failing to sign Phil Bickford in the 2013 draft with the 10th overall pick. Pentecost is a right-handed catcher who stands at 6'1" 190 lbs and was born on March 10, 1993 in Athens, Georgia.
Keith Law ranked Pentecost 22nd in the draft and had this to say about him:
The draft's best pure catcher, Pentecost can catch, throw, run and hit for average. The biggest question facing him is how his unorthodox swing will handle wood bats and pro pitching.
Pentecost was picked in the seventh round by the Texas Rangers three years ago and is considered a prospect who will be able to stick at catcher in pro ball. Far from being a defence-only catcher though, Pentecost's plate discipline is advanced and he features "a line-drive swing that stays through the zone with good bat speed and transfers his weight well to generate average power, mostly to the pull side. He's shown an ability to work counts and a willingness to hit the ball the other way. His swing is more geared towards contact; but 15-18 homer seasons are not out of the question." He's certainly not a 'sexy' pick with no skills popping out at you, but as noted over at ESPN:
There isn't one skill that jumps out when you watch Pentecost, and if you look at the 20-80 grades you might think he looks very mundane; but those can be a bit misleading. An everyday catcher who can get on base and produce average power totals and won't kill you with the glove is something that every club covets...
Pentecost has had Tommy John surgery already, similar to the other Blue Jays first rounder Jeff Hoffman, with the plate discipline and defensive skills to move fairly quickly (for a catcher) through the Blue Jays system. Being a college player, the Blue Jays shouldn't have to go over-slot (just under $2.9 million) for Pentecost, meaning Alex Anthopoulos will have a lot of flexibility in the next few rounds when trying to take prep players with strong commitments.
The right-handed hitter didn't face the greatest of competition at Kennesaw State University, but he hit .424/.479/.631 with nine home runs and 16 stolen bases in 60 games this season. Here's the video of when the Blue Jays selected Pentecost:
Pentecost was rumored to go as high as pick No. 4 to the Cubs, but at the end of the day he went where his value suggested he should. None of his tools are plus, but as a catcher who has average-to-above-average tools across the board, he could move through the Blue Jays system expeditiously, and Toronto fans are well aware that they are in need of a catcher of the future.