Scouting Yankees Prospect #1: Jesus Montero

The Yankees signed top International signee Jesus Montero out of Venezuela on July 2nd of 2006. He has quickly proven to be an elite slugger in his short time at the professional level, especially for a catcher. The debate among scouts isn't whether or not he has the bat to get to the big leagues, but whether or not he can remain behind the plate.

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

He had a tremendous season with the Charleston Riverdogs, hitting a farm system leading .326 to go along with 34 doubles and 17 home runs, all while leading the farm with 87 RBI.

"I feel so tired but I feel very happy because this was a very great year in the first full season," Montero said through the help of a translator. "I feel so happy with the help I got from everybody over here.

"I think I still need to work hard and get stronger next year. This was a long year to play and we played a lot of games so it was not easy and I have to get stronger for next year."

While he can say it wasn't easy, he sure made it look that way. And if he was tiring down the stretch, he did an excellent job of not letting it affect his game.

He hit .373 over his final 31 games, clubbing six home runs, scoring 26 runs, driving in another 24, drawing 10 walks, and slugging .595 - all career highs for any one month - and it came in the final month of his first full season.

"I've been thinking about hitting the ball well and hitting it hard so I always think the same thing when I'm at the plate - ‘hit the ball well, hit the ball well' - and if I go with that approach, it works, and I've done it all year."

As happy as he was his tremendous offensive showing, however, he is most pleased with the strides he made defensively in 2008.

"The biggest thing I've worked on this year has been behind the plate and catching," he admitted. "It's been making adjustments with my feet and moving quickly to throw to second base. That's the things they have been teaching me most this year."

Pleased with his progress blocking balls, receiving, working with pitchers, and his catch-and-throw, Montero says his defensive game has come a long way in just one short year.

"It was very different from last year," he said of his de fensive game. "This year has been like this [raises his hand above his head accentuating the level] and last year was like this [lowers his hand], so it's been very different but much better.

"I've been working really hard with Henry [Mercedes] and [Julio] Mosquera, and I've been learning as much as I can from everybody and I think I've done really well this year for sure.

"I worked with those guys every day on moving my feet. And it's very hard for me but I'm trying. I'm big and tall so it's harder for me. For Romine it's natural and he's a natural about catching. I want to be behind the plate every day but it's hard work."

Lucky for Montero, he's one of the hardest workers around. Throw in the fact he's extremely intent on staying behind the dish, don't expect him to make a position switch anytime soon.

"If I could catch everyday I would be happy and although I'm tired, I just want to play more," he said with a smile.

With the Yankees having no plans on moving him to another position, he'll get his opportunity to play more and he is working hard this offseason.

"I want to lose weight," he said with a chuckle. "That's first of all, to lose a couple pounds. But then work on my footwork and catching. I'm going to be going to the gym and d oing a lot of agility work to get more flexible."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2009 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 masher with plus power to all fields. And it's not just future plus power potential either, it's 'now' power. He has an excellent idea of the strike zone and he's more than willing to sit on his pitch, making him a very good contact hitter as well. Throw in his plus bat speed, long arms that makes him able to reach to the outer parts of the plate, and the bat control to get to the inside pitches, he doesn't have many holes in his swing. His lone weakness is his propensity to get fooled on the better breaking balls, but he got much better with those as his first season went on.

Base Running and Speed. Montero is one of the slowest players in the organization. Despite being so young, he is already a station-to-station runner. He is a true non-factor on the base paths.

Defense. Montero gets unfairly knocked for his defensive game when he has the basic foundations to be more than a serviceable big league catcher someday. He has a very strong arm, he has become an adequate receiver, and perhaps more importantly he has a knack for developing a rapport with his pitchers. They love throwing to him because he provides a big target and he is flexible in his game-calling, often times going more with the pitches that are working for them on that day. He is so big, however, his flexibility and agility aren't up to par with other defenders and that could be a problem long-term. And there exists the possibility he could simply out-grow the position.

Projection. Montero's special ability to hit for average and plus power projects him to be an above average offensive player at any position. The problem, however, is his lack of foot speed pretty much limits his opportunities in the outfield should he grow too big for the catcher's position, leaving him just first base and designated hitter as the only other alternatives. His bat could be truly special behind the plate though and his defensive game is solid enough that the Yankees will afford him every opportunity to remain there. And more than anything Montero wants to remain a catcher so much that he works tirelessly to do so. His special power to all fields, his plate discipline, ability to hit for average, and even his defensive game are quite similar to that of Mike Piazza, albeit Montero's arm strength is much better. Like Piazza, Montero has the chance to a big-time run producer who could be a staple in the heart of a big league lineup.

ETA. 2011. Montero should open up the 2009 season in the Florida State League. His bat isn't all that far off from being big league ready and that should give him the opportunity to skip a level at some point.

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\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 had a tremendous season with the Charleston Riverdogs, hitting a farm system leading .326 to go along with 34 doubles and 17 home runs, all while leading the farm with 87 RBI.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel so tired but I feel very happy because this was a very great year in the first full season,\" Montero said through the help of a translator. \"I feel so happy with the help I got from everybody over here.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think I still need to work hard and get stronger next year. This was a long year to play and we played a lot of games so it was not easy and I have to get stronger for next year.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile he can say it wasn't easy, he sure made it look that way. And if he was tiring down the stretch, he did an excellent job of not letting it affect his game.
\r\n
\r\nHe hit .373 over his final 31 games, clubbing six home runs, scoring 26 runs, driving in another 24, drawing 10 walks, and slugging .595 - all career highs for any one month - and it came in the final month of his first full season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been thinking about hitting the ball well and hitting it hard so I always think the same thing when I'm at the plate - ‘hit the ball well, hit the ball well' - and if I go with that approach, it works, and I've done it all year.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs happy as he was his tremendous offensive showing, however, he is most pleased with the strides he made defensively in 2008.
\r\n
\r\n\"The biggest thing I've worked on this year has been behind the plate and catching,\" he admitted. \"It's been making adjustments with my feet and moving quickly to throw to second base. That's the things they have been teaching me most this year.\"
\r\n
\r\nPleased with his progress blocking balls, receiving, working with pitchers, and his catch-and-throw, Montero says his defensive game has come a long way in just one short year.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was very different from last year,\" he said of his de fensive game. \"This year has been like this [raises his hand above his head accentuating the level] and last year was like this [lowers his hand], so it's been very different but much better.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been working really hard with Henry [Mercedes] and [Julio] Mosquera, and I've been learning as much as I can from everybody and I think I've done really well this year for sure.
\r\n
\r\n\"I worked with those guys every day on moving my feet. And it's very hard for me but I'm trying. I'm big and tall so it's harder for me. For Romine it's natural and he's a natural about catching. I want to be behind the plate every day but it's hard work.\"
\r\n
\r\nLucky for Montero, he's one of the hardest workers around. Throw in the fact he's extremely intent on staying behind the dish, don't expect him to make a position switch anytime soon.
\r\n
\r\n\"If I could catch everyday I would be happy and although I'm tired, I just want to play more,\" he said with a smile.
\r\n
\r\nWith the Yankees having no plans on moving him to another position, he'll get his opportunity to play more and he is working hard this offseason.
\r\n
\r\n\"I want to lose weight,\" he said with a chuckle. \"That's first of all, to lose a couple pounds. But then work on my footwork and catching. I'm going to be going to the gym and d oing a lot of agility work to get more flexible.\"
\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 2009\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 masher with plus power to all fields. And it's not just future plus power potential either, it's 'now' power. He has an excellent idea of the strike zone and he's more than willing to sit on his pitch, making him a very good contact hitter as well. Throw in his plus bat speed, long arms that makes him able to reach to the outer parts of the plate, and the bat control to get to the inside pitches, he doesn't have many holes in his swing. His lone weakness is his propensity to get fooled on the better breaking balls, but he got much better with those as his first season went on.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Montero is one of the slowest players in the organization. Despite being so young, he is already a station-to-station runner. He is a true non-factor on the base paths.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. Montero gets unfairly knocked for his defensive game when he has the basic foundations to be more than a serviceable big league catcher someday. He has a very strong arm, he has become an adequate receiver, and perhaps more importantly he has a knack for developing a rapport with his pitchers. They love throwing to him because he provides a big target and he is flexible in his game-calling, often times going more with the pitches that are working for them on that day. He is so big, however, his flexibility and agility aren't up to par with other defenders and that could be a problem long-term. And there exists the possibility he could simply out-grow the position.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Montero's special ability to hit for average and plus power projects him to be an above average offensive player at any position. The problem, however, is his lack of foot speed pretty much limits his opportunities in the outfield should he grow too big for the catcher's position, leaving him just first base and designated hitter as the only other alternatives. His bat could be truly special behind the plate though and his defensive game is solid enough that the Yankees will afford him every opportunity to remain there. And more than anything Montero wants to remain a catcher so much that he works tirelessly to do so. His special power to all fields, his plate discipline, ability to hit for average, and even his defensive game are quite similar to that of Mike Piazza, albeit Montero's arm strength is much better. Like Piazza, Montero has the chance to a big-time run producer who could be a staple in the heart of a big league lineup.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2011. Montero should open up the 2009 season in the Florida State League. His bat isn't all that far off from being big league ready and that should give him the opportunity to skip a level at some point.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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