Montero Heating Up

There isn't a player in minor league baseball right now that's watched more intently than Yankees top prospect, Scranton catcher, Jesus Montero. Coming off an impressive performance in his Triple-A debut in 2010 at the ripe age of 20, expectations were off-the-charts headed into the 2011 campaign.

Being so close to the majors and regarded as an immediate impact bat if called upon, the debates of when an inevitable call-up to the big leagues would come commenced.

That call still hasn't come, although it may not be far off from reports.

After a sluggish first half [May and June he hit .269 and .239 respectively], Montero has picked it up as the season heads to its final weeks. He has a current eight-game hit streak going after posting an .860 OPS in the month of July.

Montero has raised his season numbers up to .289 average and a .349 on-base percentage overall, numbers that were helped by a very productive July, where in 18 games, he slugged four home runs, knocked in 21 RBI and a .860 OPS.

He has continued from his hot July performance as the calendar turns to August. While the Yankee hierarchy was on hand Tuesday night, Montero put on a show vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies Affiliate). He went 3 for 4, including taking a 97-mph heater from Ironpigs pitcher, Scott Mathieson, and hit a towering blast off over the left-centerfield fence.

That the home run came off a right-hander is a good sign, as Montero hasn't fared as well in the slugging department against RHP as LHP this season, only slugging .394 vs. righties, as opposed to .552 against lefties. The matchup and impressive homer didn't go unnoticed by Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman.

"It was a nice collision. Those are great matchups to watch. Domonic (Brown) got Manny, Jesus got Mathieson, and it was kind of neat," Cashman stated.

Seemingly always being mentioned as a concern with regards to his future, Montero's defense has improved steadily as he's navigating up the minor league ranks. He is doing everything he can to take steps in the right direction defensively. And he's not alone in that venture, communicating not only with his pitching staff, but pitching coach Scott Aldred as well.

"Been doing a lot better, I learn every single day from our pitching coach about calling ballgames," Montero said. "I've gotten a lot better from spring training to now."

A key component to being a good catcher is the relationship between him and his pitching staff. Scranton starter Adam Warren believes Montero is taking the necessary steps towards becoming a sound backstop.

"From the first time I threw to him to now, it's a huge difference," Warren said. "He's learned the pitchers, what we are comfortable throwing, we're very comfortable with each other. He's worked on it a lot, going through the steps he needed to take and he is a whole lot better."

Tuesday night, Montero took to the backstop and caught another heralded top Yankee prospect, young lefty, Manny Banuelos, who made his Triple-A debut. Banuelos, who's thrown to Montero before in spring training, really felt comfortable with his new battery mate.

"I like him, he's [caught] me a couple times before," Banuelos said. "He has a great idea of how I can pitch."

With the major-league trade deadline passing, there's a real good chance he could see a call-up soon. However, he remains at ease and focused on reaching his capabilities every day, admirable poise that is impressive being so close to a dream at such a young age.

"I don't really know, I'm doing my work over here and just trying to do my best," Montero said.

As the big club come down the stretch of the season, rumblings of the potential addition of Montero to the lineup like Montero have been rumored. Brian Cashman, who didn't go outside to any trade-deadline moves, has confidence that what they have organizationally stacks up well, especially their top prospects. And he's got no problem dipping down into the minors for reinforcements.

"We've demonstrated over the years we'll go from within rather than go outside," Cashman explained. "We rely on our farm system more than we are given credit for."

That is music to Montero's' ears, who has made no bones about where he wants to play.

"I want to stay with the Yankees all the time, I thank god they didn't trade me," Montero said. "I want to play with them in the big leagues."

With Montero heating up, and the expected move of being added to the 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule-5 draft this coming offseason, he may get that chance real soon.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nBeing so close to the majors and regarded as an immediate impact bat if called upon, the debates of when an inevitable call-up to the big leagues would come commenced.
\r\n
\r\nThat call still hasn't come, although it may not be far off from reports.
\r\n
\r\nAfter a sluggish first half [May and June he hit .269 and .239 respectively], Montero has picked it up as the season heads to its final weeks. He has a current eight-game hit streak going after posting an .860 OPS in the month of July.
\r\n
\r\nMontero has raised his season numbers up to .289 average and a .349 on-base percentage overall, numbers that were helped by a very productive July, where in 18 games, he slugged four home runs, knocked in 21 RBI and a .860 OPS.
\r\n
\r\nHe has continued from his hot July performance as the calendar turns to August. While the Yankee hierarchy was on hand Tuesday night, Montero put on a show vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies Affiliate). He went 3 for 4, including taking a 97-mph heater from Ironpigs pitcher, Scott Mathieson, and hit a towering blast off over the left-centerfield fence.
\r\n
\r\nThat the home run came off a right-hander is a good sign, as Montero hasn't fared as well in the slugging department against RHP as LHP this season, only slugging .394 vs. righties, as opposed to .552 against lefties. \r\nThe matchup and impressive homer didn't go unnoticed by Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was a nice collision. Those are great matchups to watch. Domonic (Brown) got Manny, Jesus got Mathieson, and it was kind of neat,\" Cashman stated.
\r\n
\r\nSeemingly always being mentioned as a concern with regards to his future, Montero's defense has improved steadily as he's navigating up the minor league ranks. He is doing everything he can to take steps in the right direction defensively. And he's not alone in that venture, communicating not only with his pitching staff, but pitching coach Scott Aldred as well.
\r\n
\r\n\"Been doing a lot better, I learn every single day from our pitching coach about calling ballgames,\" Montero said. \"I've gotten a lot better from spring training to now.\"
\r\n
\r\nA key component to being a good catcher is the relationship between him and his pitching staff. Scranton starter Adam Warren believes Montero is taking the necessary steps towards becoming a sound backstop.
\r\n
\r\n\"From the first time I threw to him to now, it's a huge difference,\" Warren said. \"He's learned the pitchers, what we are comfortable throwing, we're very comfortable with each other. He's worked on it a lot, going through the steps he needed to take and he is a whole lot better.\"
\r\n
\r\nTuesday night, Montero took to the backstop and caught another heralded top Yankee prospect, young lefty, Manny Banuelos, who made his Triple-A debut. Banuelos, who's thrown to Montero before in spring training, really felt comfortable with his new battery mate.
\r\n
\r\n\"I like him, he's [caught] me a couple times before,\" Banuelos said. \"He has a great idea of how I can pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith the major-league trade deadline passing, there's a real good chance he could see a call-up soon. However, he remains at ease and focused on reaching his capabilities every day, admirable poise that is impressive being so close to a dream at such a young age.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't really know, I'm doing my work over here and just trying to do my best,\" Montero said.
\r\n
\r\nAs the big club come down the stretch of the season, rumblings of the potential addition of Montero to the lineup like Montero have been rumored. Brian Cashman, who didn't go outside to any trade-deadline moves, has confidence that what they have organizationally stacks up well, especially their top prospects. And he's got no problem dipping down into the minors for reinforcements.
\r\n
\r\n\"We've demonstrated over the years we'll go from within rather than go outside,\" Cashman explained. \"We rely on our farm system more than we are given credit for.\"
\r\n
\r\nThat is music to Montero's' ears, who has made no bones about where he wants to play.
\r\n
\r\n\"I want to stay with the Yankees all the time, I thank god they didn't trade me,\" Montero said. \"I want to play with them in the big leagues.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith Montero heating up, and the expected move of being added to the 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule-5 draft this coming offseason, he may get that chance real soon.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

\r\n

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