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The 2017 Bluebird Banter Top 40 Prospects: 15-13

A couple of catchers and lefty pitcher are on today’s menu.

Top 40 Prospects

We have made it to the top 15.

15. Angel Perdomo, age 22 (DOB: May 7, 1994), LHP, Last Year: 14th

Our 6’6” lefty, a free agent signing out of the Dominican Republic, is sitting at about the same spot on the list he was at last year. The year before he was 20th. You would think he would make a move one way or the other. I’d like to think this is his year to take a big step up.

In 2016 Angel pitched in Lansing, moving up from Vancouver the year before. He had a 5-7 record with a 3.19 ERA in 27 games, 25 starts. In 127 innings he allowed 101 hits, 54 walks and 156 strikeouts. You gotta like pitchers who strikeout 11 batters per 9 innings. The walk rate is a little higher than you would like to see, but big lefties tend to take a bit longer to find their control than more normal sized mortals.

He throws low 90’s but gets up to 95-96 on occasion and has a slider and a change. He’s not as consistent as you would like, but that’s to be expected. He has great games and bad games.

I keep thinking that a guy with that size and would look good (and intimidating) coming out of the bullpen, but he could also be a good starter if he can get a little more consistent. I’d imagine he’d start this year in Dunedin. He’s likely 2 years away from the majors. Presuming he gets there.

14. Max Pentecost, age 23 (DOB: March 10, 1993), C, Last Year: 8th

You know his story, Max was our first round pick in 2014, out of Kennesaw State University. The hope was that he would quickly raise through the minors and, well, be in Toronto by now.

It hasn’t happened.

Max has had his share of injuries. Actually, his share, my share and your share. He missed out on 2015 totally, after shoulder surgery in February of that year. Then he had shoulder surgery again in December of that year.

This year, he got into 74 games, all but 1 at DH. He hit .302/.361/.486, in 62 games at Lansing and 12 in Dunedin, with 10 home runs, 24 walks and 68. Great numbers for a catcher. Good numbers for a DH. And there is the problem, if he can continue at the catcher position, he’s got a great bat, if he has to move to DH or first base, well he has an ok bat.

This year, if he can come back to playing catcher, he’s too low on the list. If he can’t come back to being a catcher, he’s too high on the list.

Max has lost two years of development at the catcher position, so this year is going to be pretty important. When spring training starts, I’m going to to watching to see if he catches.

13. Reese McGuire, age 21 (DOB: March 2, 1994), C, Last Year: Slumming in the Pirates system

In a trade that still amazes me (if Alex had pulled off this trade it would be more proof that he was a ninja), the Jays traded Drew Hutchison to the Pirates, getting back Francisco Liriano and Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire. I thought Liriano for Hutchison was a win for the Jays.

The Pirates picked McGuire in the first round of the 2013 draft. He has been considered one of the Pirates top prospects ever since. Baseball America listed McGuire as the Pirates number 5 prospect.

He’s a very good defensive catcher, good at framing pitches, good at handling pitchers, good arm (he threw out 39% of basestealers in AA Altoona last year) and is athletic behind the plate.

Defensively, he could be a MLB catcher now.

Offensively, he isn’t at the same level. In 2016, he hit .254/.335/.332 with 1 home run, 36 walks and 34 strikeouts in 92 AA games. He’s shown no power in 4 minor league seasons (.329 Slugging Average with 4 home runs in 1418 PA).

If he doesn’t learn to hit he tops out as a glove first backup catcher. He’s young enough to learn how to use that bat, but we’d like to see some sign of hitting ability soon.

Combining McGuire and Pentecost would make the perfect catcher prospect. I guess it depends on whether you think it is more likely that Reese learns to hit or Max is able to stay healthy enough to play behind the plate, as to which one you think is the better prospect. I had Max above Reese because I think his ceiling is higher, but then I think Reese is more likely to make the majors.