Scouting Yankees Prospect #2: Jesus Montero

The Yankees signed top international signee Jesus Montero out of Venezuela on July 2nd of 2006 and he made his professional debut last season. He showcased his special raw power by hitting five home runs in a little more than 100 at-bats with the Gulf Coast League Yankees and made huge defensive progress behind the plate.

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

"Jesus Montero has the chance to be a real special player," said Yankees Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Mark Newman. "[He has] arm strength and [he is] a really advanced hitter at age 17 - he would be a high school junior - he swung the bat extraordinarily well in the Gulf Coast League.

"His hands are good. He's a big guy so he has to maintain lower-body flexibility and maintain agility, but he's doing fine there now. He's doing better than fine. Offensively he's been extraordinary and defensively he's really made strides in the year that he's been here. So he is big-time on the map."

Starting his professional career on the disabled list with a pretty severely sprained ankle, the 6-foot-4 slugger saw limited action upon his return.

And while the numbers were quite impressive for such a short period of time, it was the progress he made behind the scenes in all phases of the game that impressed team officials.

"I would say, more than any player I had, if you were to mark where they started to the progress point they made at the end of the year, Jesus Montero made the biggest jump of anybody," said GCL Yankees manager Jody Reed. "From his beginning point to where he was at the finish point of the season, there was tremendous progress both offensively and defensively."

"Obviously he's not always going to make that kind of progress. This is an introductory level and here's where you're going to make the biggest jump from a progression standpoint. But if he continues to progress even remotely at the rate he is, he's going to turn himself into a real good player that I think everybody is going to continue to be excited about."

Shortening his swing, eliminating some unnecessary movements in his hitting mechanics, and improving his balance offensively - as well as getting more flexible behind the plate, showing quicker feet blocking balls, and framing pitches better - were just some of the quick adjustments he made to his overall game.

"Personally I see him much more mature," said Carlos Rios, the Yankees Director of Latin American Scouting. "He seems much more at ease with what he's doing He understands his role better. The body has taken another dimension. The bat is a lot shorter now. Catching is a lot smoother back there now. He's got a lot lower arm angle.

"It's obviously a credit to our player development people, which dedicate a lot of time and effort into each one of these kids and making them better. I think the organization is happy with his progress and you can see why we signed him."

Signed for his vast offensive potential at a traditionally weak-hitting position, while the bat is what makes him so special, it was the remarkable changes made to his defensive game that really has the organization excited.

"This was his first year and he's still a young kid but he's made a lot of progress," said Yankees catching coordinator Julio Mosquera. "He's really thinned up his body a lot and he's become more flexible, which is one of the main things.

"I'm going to tell you, I've never seen a kid work as hard as he does. He wants to get better and he wants to prove to everybody that he can catch, which is something you need. You need to have that drive inside of you.

"He has made great improvements receiving the ball, throwing the ball, blocking - I couldn't be any happier with him. He wants to learn and that's one of the keys you've got to have in this game. If you want to learn you're going to get better."

A huge physical presence behind the plate, some question whether or not he will eventually out-grow the position but Montero is doing everything in his power to become a big league catcher.

"I reached my main goal, which was learn how to catch a little bit better and I feel I've done that," Montero said through the help of Manny Barreda translating. "I also learned a lot better batting technique and improved it this year, which was my other goal."

Impressing everybody with his tremendous work ethic and insatiable desire to continuously improve, Montero also learned to become more than just a power hitter offensively and many believe he has just scratched the surface of his potential.

"He was a guy we expected when he signed to hit for power obviously because he showed that ability at a very young age," said former Yankees hitting coordinator and current Toronto Blue Jays hitting coach Gary Denbo. "[He was working] to improve the consistency of his swing path so he can he can use that tremendous power more often, put the good part of the bat on the ball more often.

"[We] got him to understand that he needed to eliminate some of the excess movement in his load and his stride and in his swing, to make a more consistent loading action and a more consistent stride for better balance, for better timing.

"Once he gets himself in better control and once he gets himself into good position to make a good swing on the ball, really the sky's the limit for this young man. He really impressed me this year with his progress. He's got a chance to be an outstanding run producer."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2007 GCL Yankees .280 107 6 3 19 13 0 12 18 .366 .421


Batting and Power. Montero's signature calling-card is his special power to all fields. Even at a very young age [he will spend the entire 2008 season as an 18-year-old] his power isn't merely developing, it is already there and grades as an 80 on the scout's traditional 20-80 scale. Proving he can make adjustments quickly, he learned to slow himself down at the plate, shorten his swing and stride, and stay back on pitches longer - and that has made him into a better overall hitter. He has great bat speed and even though his long arms give him great plate coverage, he can turn on the inside pitch with the best of them. He also has a very patient approach and his experience as a catcher gives him a leg up in recognizing pitches.

Base Running and Speed. Like most sluggers, Montero is not even remotely quick and is more of a station-to-station runner. He is a true non-factor on the base paths.

Defense. Montero's defensive game is a bit unfairly criticized by some pundits. He has a very strong arm and he showed tremendous strides in lowering his arm angle, cutting down his throw times to second base, and improving his accuracy. Perhaps the biggest advancements he made in his entire game was shedding some weight and improving his flexibility, aiding his ability to be a pretty good blocker on balls thrown in the dirt. He still has some work to do receiving the ball better - although it did improve last season - and calling games batter, but he has proven he will continue to work in all phases of the game.

Projection. The big question mark surrounding Montero's game is if he will he be able to stay behind the plate where his special bat would be more valuable. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, and still just 18 years old, it is quite possible he could eventually grow too big for the position down the road. However, solid in all facets of the defensive requirements of the position, if he does eventually move from behind the plate it won't be because he couldn't handle it. Even if he were moved in the future the physical conditioning he will have received over the years would prove invaluable in the long-run. With his special power and offensive prowess, he projects to be a Mike Piazza type someday as a starting catcher - albeit with a much stronger and more accurate arm - who could hit in the heart of a big league lineup.

ETA. 2011. Montero is ready to tackle the South Atlantic League and he should be a mainstay in the Charleston Riverdogs lineup in 2008. His advanced bat shouldn't keep him in the minor leagues for much more than two seasons after that.

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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\n\"Jesus Montero has the chance to be a real special player,\" said Yankees Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Mark Newman. \"[He has] arm strength and [he is] a really advanced hitter at age 17 - he would be a high school junior - he swung the bat extraordinarily well in the Gulf Coast League.
\r\n
\r\n\"His hands are good. He's a big guy so he has to maintain lower-body flexibility and maintain agility, but he's doing fine there now. He's doing better than fine. Offensively he's been extraordinary and defensively he's really made strides in the year that he's been here. So he is big-time on the map.\"
\r\n
\r\nStarting his professional career on the disabled list with a pretty severely sprained ankle, the 6-foot-4 slugger saw limited action upon his return.
\r\n
\r\nAnd while the numbers were quite impressive for such a short period of time, it was the progress he made behind the scenes in all phases of the game that impressed team officials.
\r\n
\r\n\"I would say, more than any player I had, if you were to mark where they started to the progress point they made at the end of the year, Jesus Montero made the biggest jump of anybody,\" said GCL Yankees manager Jody Reed. \"From his beginning point to where he was at the finish point of the season, there was tremendous progress both offensively and defensively.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Obviously he's not always going to make that kind of progress. This is an introductory level and here's where you're going to make the biggest jump from a progression standpoint. But if he continues to progress even remotely at the rate he is, he's going to turn himself into a real good player that I think everybody is going to continue to be excited about.\"
\r\n
\r\nShortening his swing, eliminating some unnecessary movements in his hitting mechanics, and improving his balance offensively - as well as getting more flexible behind the plate, showing quicker feet blocking balls, and framing pitches better - were just some of the quick adjustments he made to his overall game.
\r\n
\r\n\"Personally I see him much more mature,\" said Carlos Rios, the Yankees Director of Latin American Scouting. \"He seems much more at ease with what he's doing He understands his role better. The body has taken another dimension. The bat is a lot shorter now. Catching is a lot smoother back there now. He's got a lot lower arm angle.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's obviously a credit to our player development people, which dedicate a lot of time and effort into each one of these kids and making them better. I think the organization is happy with his progress and you can see why we signed him.\"
\r\n
\r\nSigned for his vast offensive potential at a traditionally weak-hitting position, while the bat is what makes him so special, it was the remarkable changes made to his defensive game that really has the organization excited.
\r\n
\r\n\"This was his first year and he's still a young kid but he's made a lot of progress,\" said Yankees catching coordinator Julio Mosquera. \"He's really thinned up his body a lot and he's become more flexible, which is one of the main things.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm going to tell you, I've never seen a kid work as hard as he does. He wants to get better and he wants to prove to everybody that he can catch, which is something you need. You need to have that drive inside of you.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has made great improvements receiving the ball, throwing the ball, blocking - I couldn't be any happier with him. He wants to learn and that's one of the keys you've got to have in this game. If you want to learn you're going to get better.\"
\r\n
\r\nA huge physical presence behind the plate, some question whether or not he will eventually out-grow the position but Montero is doing everything in his power to become a big league catcher.
\r\n
\r\n\"I reached my main goal, which was learn how to catch a little bit better and I feel I've done that,\" Montero said through the help of Manny Barreda translating. \"I also learned a lot better batting technique and improved it this year, which was my other goal.\"
\r\n
\r\nImpressing everybody with his tremendous work ethic and insatiable desire to continuously improve, Montero also learned to become more than just a power hitter offensively and many believe he has just scratched the surface of his potential.
\r\n
\r\n\"He was a guy we expected when he signed to hit for power obviously because he showed that ability at a very young age,\" said former Yankees hitting coordinator and current Toronto Blue Jays hitting coach Gary Denbo. \"[He was working] to improve the consistency of his swing path so he can he can use that tremendous power more often, put the good part of the bat on the ball more often.
\r\n
\r\n\"[We] got him to understand that he needed to eliminate some of the excess movement in his load and his stride and in his swing, to make a more consistent loading action and a more consistent stride for better balance, for better timing.
\r\n
\r\n\"Once he gets himself in better control and once he gets himself into good position to make a good swing on the ball, really the sky's the limit for this young man. He really impressed me this year with his progress. He's got a chance to be an outstanding run producer.\"
\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 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's signature calling-card is his special power to all fields. Even at a very young age [he will spend the entire 2008 season as an 18-year-old] his power isn't merely developing, it is already there and grades as an 80 on the scout's traditional 20-80 scale. Proving he can make adjustments quickly, he learned to slow himself down at the plate, shorten his swing and stride, and stay back on pitches longer - and that has made him into a better overall hitter. He has great bat speed and even though his long arms give him great plate coverage, he can turn on the inside pitch with the best of them. He also has a very patient approach and his experience as a catcher gives him a leg up in recognizing pitches.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Like most sluggers, Montero is not even remotely quick and is more of a station-to-station runner. He is a true non-factor on the base paths.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. Montero's defensive game is a bit unfairly criticized by some pundits. He has a very strong arm and he showed tremendous strides in lowering his arm angle, cutting down his throw times to second base, and improving his accuracy. Perhaps the biggest advancements he made in his entire game was shedding some weight and improving his flexibility, aiding his ability to be a pretty good blocker on balls thrown in the dirt. He still has some work to do receiving the ball better - although it did improve last season - and calling games batter, but he has proven he will continue to work in all phases of the game.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. The big question mark surrounding Montero's game is if he will he be able to stay behind the plate where his special bat would be more valuable. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, and still just 18 years old, it is quite possible he could eventually grow too big for the position down the road. However, solid in all facets of the defensive requirements of the position, if he does eventually move from behind the plate it won't be because he couldn't handle it. Even if he were moved in the future the physical conditioning he will have received over the years would prove invaluable in the long-run. With his special power and offensive prowess, he projects to be a Mike Piazza type someday as a starting catcher - albeit with a much stronger and more accurate arm - who could hit in the heart of a big league lineup.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2011. Montero is ready to tackle the South Atlantic League and he should be a mainstay in the Charleston Riverdogs lineup in 2008. His advanced bat shouldn't keep him in the minor leagues for much more than two seasons after that.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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