Scouting Yankees Prospect #1: Jesus Montero

The Yankees signed top International signee Jesus Montero out of Venezuela on July 2nd of 2006. He once again proved to be one of the elite hitters in all of minor league baseball last season with a tremendous second half at the Triple-A level and he also started proving to people that he has what it takes to stay at catcher.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jesus Montero
Position: Catcher
DOB: November 28, 1989
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 225
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He finished his first year at the highest minor league level hitting .289 with 34 doubles and 21 home runs for the Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. Though it was the first time he failed to hit over .300 in the long-season leagues, he proved to many that he can make adjustments.

"When I first got there I was trying to get to know the league and was trying to get comfortable," Montero said. "It was just getting comfortable really. I have a lot of confidence hitting and thank God things went well and things are getting better."

He initially struggled offensively for the first time in his career, hitting just .252 with seven home runs before the All Star break. The subject of many trade talks around that time, whether it was coincidence or not, he wound up hitting .351 with 14 home runs the rest of the way.

"Just being patient and having fun in the game, that's what I needed to do," said Montero, who insists the trade talks didn't affect him. "I think in the beginning of the year I was worrying about everything a little too much and after the All Star break and told myself ‘let's have fun' and that's what I did.

"It got a lot better. From the All Star break to the end, I am really happy with what I did."

He wasn't just content with another stellar offensive campaign, he is very pleased with his work behind the plate and refining his defensive game even further.

"[Last] year I was focusing on calling games and throws to second base, learning about the veteran guys and calling pitches," he said. "That's the most important thing that I've been working on with the coaches. I feel really comfortable. I learned a lot last year."

Boasting a .314 career average with some of the best power potential in the game, his hitting has never been questioned. It is Montero's defensive game that continues to get scrutinized by the national pundits.

Not the most agile player because of his tremendous size, a lot of critics tend to lose focus on the most basic question - can he handle the catcher's position?

"Some will still continue to question his defense, but for me, aside from the experience he'll need to get on the job, this is a player prepared to play the position at the next level," former Texas Rangers scout and current AOL Fanhouse prospect analyst Frankie Piliere told PinstripesPlus.com.

"Having several looks at Montero in spring training and in Scranton, I saw improvements over the 2009 version of the righty swinging slugger. His footwork was much smoother behind the dish, and his overall throwing mechanics looked just a bit more fluid."

Most concede the point that Montero will never shine on the defensive side of the ball, but with plus hitting potential and great power, he doesn't really need to.

"The improvements were not limited to his defense, though," Piliere added. "At the plate, especially as the season moved along, he appeared more able to stay on his back side and drive the ball with authority to right centerfield.

"Montero is deserving of all the high praise, and from what I gathered in 2010, made significant strides in both his approach at the plate and his handling of a pitching staff behind it."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2010 Scranton .289 453 34 21 75 66 0 46 91 .353 .517
2009 Trenton .317 167 10 9 33 19 0 14 21 .370 .539
2009 Tampa .356 180 15 8 37 26 0 14 26 .406 .583
2008 Charleston .326 525 34 17 87 86 2 37 83 .376 .491
2007 GCL Yankees .280 107 6 3 19 13 0 12 18 .366 .421


Batting and Power. Montero is an elite hitter and a big-time slugger. When he stays back in his approach and lets the ball travel deep, has the awesome bat speed and opposite field power to hit the ball out of the yard anywhere. He is a very patient hitter with great strike zone discipline, but he is very aggressive in the strike zone and he's at his best when he doesn't try to draw walks. He is also at his best in the more crucial situations, hitting .329 last year with runners on-base with two outs and a whopping .370 with runners in scoring position and with two outs. He is a clutch power hitter through and through.

Base Running and Speed. Montero has no speed at all and has zero impact in the running game.

Defense. He is below average when it comes to agility and footwork, and that's where critics jump all over him. The fact is though he doesn't embarrass himself in those regards and he can handle the duties. He does have above average to even plus arm strength, however, and he provides his pitchers a big target behind the plate. He is also pretty good at blocking balls and working with his pitchers.

Projection. Montero will never stand out defensively and there are times where his slower footwork might cause some problems, but with his world-class hitting potential, he's going to help his team win games in more ways offensively than his defense will cost them. We've always compared him to Mike Piazza as an elite hitter who can handle the defensive duties since even before he signed with the Yankees and that projection not only still rings true today, it's about as a big a lock to come to fruition as there is in the game.

ETA. 2011. Montero's bat has been big league ready for a while now and there's not much else he can do to improve his defensive game at the minor league level. He should see his first big league action in 2011.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Jesus Montero
\r\nPosition: Catcher
\r\nDOB: November 28, 1989
\r\nHeight: 6'4\"
\r\nWeight: 225
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nHe finished his first year at the highest minor league level hitting .289 with 34 doubles and 21 home runs for the Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. Though it was the first time he failed to hit over .300 in the long-season leagues, he proved to many that he can make adjustments.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I first got there I was trying to get to know the league and was trying to get comfortable,\" Montero said. \"It was just getting comfortable really. I have a lot of confidence hitting and thank God things went well and things are getting better.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe initially struggled offensively for the first time in his career, hitting just .252 with seven home runs before the All Star break. The subject of many trade talks around that time, whether it was coincidence or not, he wound up hitting .351 with 14 home runs the rest of the way.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just being patient and having fun in the game, that's what I needed to do,\" said Montero, who insists the trade talks didn't affect him. \"I think in the beginning of the year I was worrying about everything a little too much and after the All Star break and told myself ‘let's have fun' and that's what I did.
\r\n
\r\n\"It got a lot better. From the All Star break to the end, I am really happy with what I did.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe wasn't just content with another stellar offensive campaign, he is very pleased with his work behind the plate and refining his defensive game even further.
\r\n
\r\n\"[Last] year I was focusing on calling games and throws to second base, learning about the veteran guys and calling pitches,\" he said. \"That's the most important thing that I've been working on with the coaches. I feel really comfortable. I learned a lot last year.\"
\r\n
\r\nBoasting a .314 career average with some of the best power potential in the game, his hitting has never been questioned. It is Montero's defensive game that continues to get scrutinized by the national pundits.
\r\n
\r\nNot the most agile player because of his tremendous size, a lot of critics tend to lose focus on the most basic question - can he handle the catcher's position?
\r\n
\r\n\"Some will still continue to question his defense, but for me, aside from the experience he'll need to get on the job, this is a player prepared to play the position at the next level,\" former Texas Rangers scout and current AOL Fanhouse prospect analyst Frankie Piliere told PinstripesPlus.com.
\r\n
\r\n\"Having several looks at Montero in spring training and in Scranton, I saw improvements over the 2009 version of the righty swinging slugger. His footwork was much smoother behind the dish, and his overall throwing mechanics looked just a bit more fluid.\"
\r\n
\r\nMost concede the point that Montero will never shine on the defensive side of the ball, but with plus hitting potential and great power, he doesn't really need to.
\r\n
\r\n\"The improvements were not limited to his defense, though,\" Piliere added. \"At the plate, especially as the season moved along, he appeared more able to stay on his back side and drive the ball with authority to right centerfield.
\r\n
\r\n\"Montero is deserving of all the high praise, and from what I gathered in 2010, made significant strides in both his approach at the plate and his handling of a pitching staff behind it.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

Team

\r\n

AVG

\r\n

AB

\r\n

2B

\r\n

HR

\r\n

RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

SB

\r\n

BB

\r\n

SO

\r\n

OBP

\r\n

SLG

\r\n 2010\r\n Scranton\r\n .289\r\n 453\r\n 34\r\n 21\r\n 75\r\n 66\r\n 0\r\n 46\r\n 91\r\n .353\r\n .517
\r\n 2009\r\n Trenton\r\n .317\r\n 167\r\n 10\r\n 9\r\n 33\r\n 19\r\n 0\r\n 14\r\n 21\r\n .370\r\n .539
\r\n 2009\r\n Tampa\r\n .356\r\n 180\r\n 15\r\n 8\r\n 37\r\n 26\r\n 0\r\n 14\r\n 26\r\n .406\r\n .583
\r\n 2008\r\n Charleston\r\n .326\r\n 525\r\n 34\r\n 17\r\n 87\r\n 86\r\n 2\r\n 37\r\n 83\r\n .376\r\n .491
\r\n 2007\r\n GCL Yankees\r\n .280\r\n 107\r\n 6\r\n 3\r\n 19\r\n 13\r\n 0\r\n 12\r\n 18\r\n .366\r\n .421

\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. Montero is an elite hitter and a big-time slugger. When he stays back in his approach and lets the ball travel deep, has the awesome bat speed and opposite field power to hit the ball out of the yard anywhere. He is a very patient hitter with great strike zone discipline, but he is very aggressive in the strike zone and he's at his best when he doesn't try to draw walks. He is also at his best in the more crucial situations, hitting .329 last year with runners on-base with two outs and a whopping .370 with runners in scoring position and with two outs. He is a clutch power hitter through and through.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Montero has no speed at all and has zero impact in the running game.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. He is below average when it comes to agility and footwork, and that's where critics jump all over him. The fact is though he doesn't embarrass himself in those regards and he can handle the duties. He does have above average to even plus arm strength, however, and he provides his pitchers a big target behind the plate. He is also pretty good at blocking balls and working with his pitchers.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Montero will never stand out defensively and there are times where his slower footwork might cause some problems, but with his world-class hitting potential, he's going to help his team win games in more ways offensively than his defense will cost them. We've always compared him to Mike Piazza as an elite hitter who can handle the defensive duties since even before he signed with the Yankees and that projection not only still rings true today, it's about as a big a lock to come to fruition as there is in the game.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2011. Montero's bat has been big league ready for a while now and there's not much else he can do to improve his defensive game at the minor league level. He should see his first big league action in 2011.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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