There is no doubt that Jesus Montero is ready for Double-A ball in the batter's box. He has gone 5 for 8 in his last two games with a home run in Saturday's game against the Stone Crabs to secure his eighth one this season.
He is aggressive at the plate and feels that he is ready to handle Double-A pitchers.
"It's the same thing you know," he said, "just a little more difficult as you go up. Everything's in your mind though. If you want to play hard, nothing's different."
Manager Luis Sojo also agrees that Montero has been hitting well enough for the next level, but admits that he won't know until he gets there whether he is properly prepared or not.
"We don't know until he gets there, but you continue to become a good hitter your whole life," Sojo said. "He's been playing for three years and every year he improves, so I don't see why he can't do that over there too. Time is going to tell."
But even in his own opinion, it is Montero's catching that needs improvement before moving up.
"I need to work on the inside pitch and need to work hard behind the plate and try to be focused the whole time," Montero said. "I'm working hard with my coaches and that's what they tell me — catch, catch, catch. That's what I try to do all the time."
Currently, Montero and Romine are splitting the catching time for the Tampa Yankees, both working with every pitcher on the staff.
"I've caught all the pitchers already," Montero said. "I feel good with all of them. Sometimes we have problems in the game, but anything can happen in the game. It's hard to be that good all the time.
"I feel like I need to work behind the plate, catching," said the nineteen-year-old Venezuela native. "I try to do the best I can. I need to work on some things — move my feet, get quicker—try to do little things to try to move me up real quick."
Sojo feels that with time behind the plate and more work in several specific areas of his defensive game, Montero will continue to move in the right direction.
"Well you know he's been working real hard about game situations, men on-base, breaking balls," Sojo said, "things like that. He's been great for the past three weeks to a month.
"Defensively is the only thing for him to work on to move up and he's working hard day in and day out. His release point has gotten a lot better and he's really blocking balls good. The whole package is really coming along and hopefully it's going to be okay."
Montero Nearly Ready For Promotion
Pinstripes Plus Top Stories
Gomez Taking ControlTRENTON, NJ - Former starter and current relief pitcher, Anyelo Gomez, is 24-years old and has moved up three levels in the Yankees system this year. Now at the Double-A level,…
Pinstripes PlusYesterday at 8:45 PM
Tate Building Up His ConfidenceTAMPA, FL -- Although he hasn’t had too many outings on the mound yet this season, Tampa Yankees starter Dillon Tate, who sports a perfect 4-0 mark in his first five starts, has…
Pinstripes PlusTuesday at 6:49 AM
Amundaray Looking To Turn A CornerTAMPA, FL -- Jonathan Amunduray signed with the Yankees three years ago while only 16 years old. Since then the Venezuelan outfielder, who has always had the physical tools to be a…
Pinstripes PlusSunday at 4:05 AM
Polo Stepping UpTRENTON, NJ -- The Yankees made a slew of trades last year to bring in a number of high-end prospects but perhaps the one trade that flew under the radar was the Ivan Nova trade…
Pinstripes PlusFriday at 8:24 AM
Perez Coming Into His OwnCHARLESTON, SC -- Standing 6-foot-8 and able to hit 100 mph pretty routinely there's no big surprise why right-hander Freicer Perez often gets compared to current Yankee big…