Max Pentecost has an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .994 with Dunedin.
The Florida State League has the reputation of being a pitching-friendly circuit but try telling that to the hurlers who have had to deal with Dunedin’s Max Pentecost. The 2014 Vancouver Canadians catcher finished April with a flourish, hitting .328 and slugging a league-best .641 thanks to two doubles, six home runs and 16 runs batted in. Five of those home runs have come in an eight-game span with the power surge beginning April 20 in which Pentecost helped Dunedin to a come-from-behind victory over the St. Lucie Mets. He told MiLB.com after the game he was trying to stay disciplined at the plate.
“I’ve mainly been focused on getting that one pitch in each bat and not missing. I’ve been trying to lay off stuff out of the zone when they try to nitpick me and then jump on the fastball.”
Three days later, Pentecost went deep again to help Dunedin defeat the Fort Myers Miracle. On April 25, the Winder, Georgia native had just one hit but it was a big one as he belted a grand slam to help down the host Charlotte Stone Crabs. He played a big role in helping Dunedin pinch the Stone Crabs two days later with a home run, an RBI single and a game-tying sacrifice fly as part of a five-run ninth inning to give the D-Jays another come-from-behind win.
Pentecost’s best performance came April 28 when he belted his sixth homer as part of a season-high three-hit game. Currently on a 14-game hitting streak that has seen him record six multi-hit efforts, the 11th pick of the 2014 draft told MiLB.com he just feels better prepared this year.
“Last year after taking a whole year off, I was trying to get back into the groove of everything, from getting my timing and my swing down and seeing pitches — it took a while to get into a groove and feel comfortable. This year in Spring Training I was able to get some at-bats early, and it’s been a lot easier to just go with the flow and be ready as opposed to last year.”
Max Pentecost got to don the tools of ignorance for the first time in a game since 2014 in Vancouver.
Even better for the former Kennesaw State Owl, 2017 has seen him get back on the diamond defensively. After shoulder issues short-circuited his rookie season in Vancouver and caused him to miss all of 2015, the 24 year-old has worn his catcher’s gear in three games this season and has seen another three games at first base. Last year, the 6-foot-2 right-handed hitter was limited to designated hitting duties in Lansing and Dunedin.
Pentecost now looks to continue his progress behind the plate and surpass the 10 games he caught in 2014 between the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and Vancouver. Other than a .245 batting average during a 49 at-bat stint in Dunedin last year, Pentecost has hit over .300 in every minor league stop. If he can combine his ability to hit for average and power with the ability to catch, the Blue Jays could have their eventual successor for Russell Martin behind the dish.