Montero Not Coming Back Down To Earth

Charleston Riverdogs catcher Jesus Montero has spent the beginning of his first shot at the long season leagues in the stratosphere. He is batting .304 and is in the top ten in many offensive statistics for the South Atlantic League: hits, RBIs, doubles and runs scored. One of the Yankees most highly touted prospects, he was recently named starting catcher of the SAL All-Star Game.

Jesus Montero is, for all intents and purposes, a household name for anyone familiar with the Yankee farm system. His raw talent and potential have kept all eyes upon him since popping up on the radar when the Yankees signed him in 2006.

Since then, the Yankees have tinkered with the young Venezuelan's mechanics in hopes of seeing his contact improve. He spent the 2007 season with the Gulf Coast League Yankees and hit .280 with three homers and nineteen RBIs in thirty-three games.

The Yankees saw fit to send the eighteen-year-old to Charleston to face Sally League pitchers and try out the long-season league. Montero started out the year swinging, literally, and in April batted .360 with three home runs and twenty RBIs. He seemed to calm down his torrid pace during the month of May, especially while catcher Austin Romine was on the disabled list.

Montero had high hopes coming into the season and thought he had prepared well enough to excel in his first full season.

"I've worked real hard for this season," he said through the help of a translator. "I prepared a lot during the offseason and so far it has worked."

The Riverdogs are very impressed with Montero's performance and progress this season. Charleston hitting coach Greg Colbrunn is very pleased with his consistency at the plate, especially at his young age.

"He's been consistent," said Colbrunn. "And that's the most impressive thing for a young hitter at eighteen years old, to be as consistent as he's been. He hasn't really hit any stretches where his swing gets out of whack."

While everything seems on the up and up for Montero, especially at the plate, Montero has a very specific goal to become a better defensive catcher, never quite feeling gratified with his ability behind the plate.

"I've really worked hard on catching," he said when asked what his biggest hurdle has been thus far. "I've really had to work hard everyday and the hitting is coming along, but I've really had to put in the time catching."

Granted, Montero is known for his power potential with the lumber and has torn apart right-handed pitching this year for a .329 average, but his .253 average against left handed pitching begs the question of what, if anything, is the cause for the disparity.

"Lefties usually throw the offspeed stuff," he said. "A lot of changeups, a lot of curveballs and it's been a little harder to make the adjustment from righties."

Coach Colbrunn believes it is purely the result of the catcher's lack of experience with facing southpaws and once he gets used to seeing them, his numbers should come around.

"He hasn't seen a lot of lefties before this season, and we've run into a number of lefties. Rome has five lefties for example," added Colbrunn. "But the more he hits against them and the more he gets comfortable with the change of speeds, the better he is going to do against them."

Montero's personal concern about his approach is something he has been trying to fine-tune all season and it pertains to his somewhat speedy approach at the plate. He sometimes feels he gets ahead of himself, being too anxious and shifting his weight at the wrong time during his at-bats.

"I'm really trying to stay back on the ball and not lunge at it, just let the ball travel and stay back and hit it," Montero admitted. "I'm trying to keep my weight back."

Coach Colbrunn agrees it is a matter of getting him to slow down. He has already seen improvement from game to game and even during them as he has seen Montero's approach become steadier in the later innings.

"He gets a little big at times, and hitting the ball for power is one of his strengths, but in certain situations we have to tone him down a little," said Colbrunn. "But even in game-time situations, he's been real good about that. He calms it down in the later innings."

Perfection cannot be expected of a player at eighteen, but Montero continues to impress. His ability at the plate is something to be marveled at and he makes steady progress behind the plate.

"I'm very happy with how the season is going and I feel very fortunate about the opportunity I'm getting to play here," said the humble catcher. "But I have to follow my routine and listen to the coaches, and good things will come out of it."

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\r\n \r\n\r\nJesus Montero is, for all intents and purposes, a household name for anyone familiar with the Yankee farm system. His raw talent and potential have kept all eyes upon him since popping up on the radar when the Yankees signed him in 2006.
\r\n
\r\nSince then, the Yankees have tinkered with the young Venezuelan's mechanics in hopes of seeing his contact improve. He spent the 2007 season with the Gulf Coast League Yankees and hit .280 with three homers and nineteen RBIs in thirty-three games.
\r\n
\r\nThe Yankees saw fit to send the eighteen-year-old to Charleston to face Sally League pitchers and try out the long-season league. Montero started out the year swinging, literally, and in April batted .360 with three home runs and twenty RBIs. He seemed to calm down his torrid pace during the month of May, especially while catcher Austin Romine was on the disabled list.
\r\n
\r\nMontero had high hopes coming into the season and thought he had prepared well enough to excel in his first full season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've worked real hard for this season,\" he said through the help of a translator. \"I prepared a lot during the offseason and so far it has worked.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe Riverdogs are very impressed with Montero's performance and progress this season. Charleston hitting coach Greg Colbrunn is very pleased with his consistency at the plate, especially at his young age.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's been consistent,\" said Colbrunn. \"And that's the most impressive thing for a young hitter at eighteen years old, to be as consistent as he's been. He hasn't really hit any stretches where his swing gets out of whack.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile everything seems on the up and up for Montero, especially at the plate, Montero has a very specific goal to become a better defensive catcher, never quite feeling gratified with his ability behind the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've really worked hard on catching,\" he said when asked what his biggest hurdle has been thus far. \"I've really had to work hard everyday and the hitting is coming along, but I've really had to put in the time catching.\"
\r\n
\r\nGranted, Montero is known for his power potential with the lumber and has torn apart right-handed pitching this year for a .329 average, but his .253 average against left handed pitching begs the question of what, if anything, is the cause for the disparity.
\r\n
\r\n\"Lefties usually throw the offspeed stuff,\" he said. \"A lot of changeups, a lot of curveballs and it's been a little harder to make the adjustment from righties.\"
\r\n
\r\nCoach Colbrunn believes it is purely the result of the catcher's lack of experience with facing southpaws and once he gets used to seeing them, his numbers should come around.
\r\n
\r\n\"He hasn't seen a lot of lefties before this season, and we've run into a number of lefties. Rome has five lefties for example,\" added Colbrunn. \"But the more he hits against them and the more he gets comfortable with the change of speeds, the better he is going to do against them.\"
\r\n
\r\nMontero's personal concern about his approach is something he has been trying to fine-tune all season and it pertains to his somewhat speedy approach at the plate. He sometimes feels he gets ahead of himself, being too anxious and shifting his weight at the wrong time during his at-bats.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm really trying to stay back on the ball and not lunge at it, just let the ball travel and stay back and hit it,\" Montero admitted. \"I'm trying to keep my weight back.\"
\r\n
\r\nCoach Colbrunn agrees it is a matter of getting him to slow down. He has already seen improvement from game to game and even during them as he has seen Montero's approach become steadier in the later innings.
\r\n
\r\n\"He gets a little big at times, and hitting the ball for power is one of his strengths, but in certain situations we have to tone him down a little,\" said Colbrunn. \"But even in game-time situations, he's been real good about that. He calms it down in the later innings.\"
\r\n
\r\nPerfection cannot be expected of a player at eighteen, but Montero continues to impress. His ability at the plate is something to be marveled at and he makes steady progress behind the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm very happy with how the season is going and I feel very fortunate about the opportunity I'm getting to play here,\" said the humble catcher. \"But I have to follow my routine and listen to the coaches, and good things will come out of it.\"
\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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