Scouting Notes: Montero May Not Be Ready

Everyone in Yankee land appears poised for the arrival of Jesus Montero in the Bronx. The organization has seemed to hint at his arrival for weeks now, but we still don't have a clear idea of when we might see him in the big leagues. And, perhaps the reason he hasn't received that elusive promotion yet is not so much roster space related as it is to the fact that he just may not be ready yet.

There's no arguing Jesus Montero's offensive upside, but you can debate all day about his readiness for big league action at this stage. The Yankees aren't keeping him in the minor leagues because of difficult roster decisions. From my perspective, he's still there because he's not ready for the leap just yet.

Something you like to see from a young player before he arrives in the big leagues is an identity at the plate. Montero doesn't appear to have that yet. He's still searching for the stance, the approach, and the swing that work best for him. And, in doing so he still can look mechanical and not so fluid at the dish.

Montero has never had what scouts would call a prototype swing. There's an upward angle to it and there's a lot of moving parts involved. But, something is different in Montero's swing this season. He's far more spread out with his legs and in a deeper crouch position than he ever has been. The move was likely to keep his stride in check. His stride has always had a tendency to give him some minor problems, so perhaps that's why the change was made. A huge part of Montero's game is driving the ball to the opposite field and staying back is an enormous key to doing that.

This move also has taken some of the rhythm out of his stroke and has him relying more on his hands and upper body. And, this is not to say that the young Yankee backstop can't perform with his new stance. But, it's just proof at this point that he's still searching for his identity at the plate. Someone felt there was a need to alter how he was setting up at the plate, and after seeing him late this season it's clear he's not quite comfortable right now.

From my perspective, the more upright Montero with more of a stride looked far more dangerous. The ball was coming off his bat with more authority and he looked like a much more comfortable hitter overall. This newer version of Montero looks hindered by his wide base.

Montero's raw talent is too good not to overcome these issues, however. But, he currently doesn't look like a hitter ready to step into the big leagues and have no problems. And, don't think that's not the reason the Yankees haven't brought him up. Obviously they're aware he's still experimenting with his stance and mechanics, and they aren't going to bring up a hitter that isn't quite comfortable with his identity as a hitter.

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