The Real Montero Showing Up

SCRANTON, PA - As the season bustles on, it is clear that the prospect all Yankees fans have been waiting to see shine is starting to live up to his lofty praise. Lately, all that's been able to shut down Scranton/Wilkes-Barre catcher Jesus Montero has been the stadium lights powering down postgame.

In a 6-1 thrashing of the Gwinnett Braves Tuesday night, the red-hot Montero belted two bombs [a solo shot as well as a two-run homer] and went 2-3 with three RBI's, just another walk in the park for the 20-year-old Venezuelan.

"This is who we thought we would see at sometime this year, and that's why we never panicked with him," said hitting coach Butch Wynegar. "We just kept patting him on the back and trying to keep his confidence up, and told him to be consistent with what he did at the plate and with what he was thinking at the plate."

"I just tried to know the league a little better, this is a big league, and I was just trying to understand it a little better," Jesus Montero said. "I tried to learn from my coaches but wanted to learn by myself what I had to do better."

Better is just a bit of an understatement. Nights like that have come to be expected by the Yankees prized prospect. In his last 10 games, Montero has been absolutely scorching. He's hitting .485 from the plate and has caught Jaun Miranda for the team lead in homers, with ten, and has taken over as the club leader in RBI's, with 43.

Not bad for a guy who, on June 1st, was hitting a lowly .234 with just three home runs and 21 RBI's, while hearing the boo-birds more often than not.

"There are a ton of smart pitchers in this league that feed off of your aggressiveness, and that was him early in the year," Wynegar said. "He thought he would get a fastball early in the count and would start swinging before he even knew what was coming."

Usually when someone who has had success at every stop in their life, hitting a rough patch and not being able to get out of it quickly can haunt them. But for Montero, who can almost never be seen without a smile, doubt has never entered his thoughts.

"I think before I was worried too much," said Montero. "Right now, I'm just trying to have fun and learn the game and the pitchers. I'm having fun when I'm hitting, that's it, just having fun."

With the month Montero is having in July [.407, four HR's, 11 RBI, 22 hits, with just eight K's], it's easy to see why Montero is having a blast, literally. Montero has hit four of his 10 home runs in the past ten games, and had reached base safely in 13 of his last 17 plate appearances entering Thursday's contest.

In his last ten games alone Montero his hovered around .500. Why all the sudden success? Just a little bit of listening and a little more self-discipline says Montero.

"I'm just trying to learn every little thing to not only get to the big leagues, but help them [Scranton/Wilkes-Barre] too."

"He's just locked in," said Wynegar. "He's just much more patient and relaxed right now. He's being very disciplined and laying off close pitches early in the count. He's just in that zone where he's very confident in what he's doing up there, and it's really paying off."

Whatever he has changed around has certainly paid dividends. Ironically, the sudden surge has come after the Montero-Cliff Lee trade talks with the Mariners just a few weeks ago.

The deal, which was all but done early Friday, July 9th, would have sent Montero along with fellow prospects Zach McAllister and David Adams for the Seattle ace.

Did the near-blockbuster deal light a fire underneath the slugger?

"No, that wasn't it at all," Montero opined. "I'm just trying to have fun and trying to play good baseball for the Yankees. My name was on the TV and in the news, but I'm happy that I stayed with the organization. I love the Yankees and here is where I want to be."

What he also wants to do is catch for the Yankees. The question has never been Montero's bat, even with his early season struggles, but it has always been whether he could hack it as a major league catcher.

While scouts no doubt feel he will be a force in the box for years to come, they are undecided on whether he sizes up better as a catcher or a first baseman.

For Montero, there is no doubt in his mind what position he wants to play.

"I don't want to move to another position," said Montero matter-of-factly. "I want to be a catcher. My dream is to be in the big leagues as a catcher, I want to be a great hitter and a great catcher, that's what I want."

At the torrid pace Montero has been on since the beginning of July, his chance may be coming sooner than later, but until then, he still knows he needs plenty of work.

"I have to keep playing hard everyday and become more consistent," Montero said. "I have to go through my whole routine every single day and keep on getting better at the little things."

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\r\n \r\n\r\nIn a 6-1 thrashing of the Gwinnett Braves Tuesday night, the red-hot Montero belted two bombs [a solo shot as well as a two-run homer] and went 2-3 with three RBI's, just another walk in the park for the 20-year-old Venezuelan.
\r\n
\r\n\"This is who we thought we would see at sometime this year, and that's why we never panicked with him,\" said hitting coach Butch Wynegar. \"We just kept patting him on the back and trying to keep his confidence up, and told him to be consistent with what he did at the plate and with what he was thinking at the plate.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I just tried to know the league a little better, this is a big league, and I was just trying to understand it a little better,\" Jesus Montero said. \"I tried to learn from my coaches but wanted to learn by myself what I had to do better.\"
\r\n
\r\nBetter is just a bit of an understatement. Nights like that have come to be expected by the Yankees prized prospect. In his last 10 games, Montero has been absolutely scorching. He's hitting .485 from the plate and has caught Jaun Miranda for the team lead in homers, with ten, and has taken over as the club leader in RBI's, with 43.
\r\n
\r\nNot bad for a guy who, on June 1st, was hitting a lowly .234 with just three home runs and 21 RBI's, while hearing the boo-birds more often than not.
\r\n
\r\n\"There are a ton of smart pitchers in this league that feed off of your aggressiveness, and that was him early in the year,\" Wynegar said. \"He thought he would get a fastball early in the count and would start swinging before he even knew what was coming.\"
\r\n
\r\nUsually when someone who has had success at every stop in their life, hitting a rough patch and not being able to get out of it quickly can haunt them. But for Montero, who can almost never be seen without a smile, doubt has never entered his thoughts.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think before I was worried too much,\" said Montero. \"Right now, I'm just trying to have fun and learn the game and the pitchers. I'm having fun when I'm hitting, that's it, just having fun.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith the month Montero is having in July [.407, four HR's, 11 RBI, 22 hits, with just eight K's], it's easy to see why Montero is having a blast, literally. Montero has hit four of his 10 home runs in the past ten games, and had reached base safely in 13 of his last 17 plate appearances entering Thursday's contest.
\r\n
\r\nIn his last ten games alone Montero his hovered around .500. Why all the sudden success? Just a little bit of listening and a little more self-discipline says Montero.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm just trying to learn every little thing to not only get to the big leagues, but help them [Scranton/Wilkes-Barre] too.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He's just locked in,\" said Wynegar. \"He's just much more patient and relaxed right now. He's being very disciplined and laying off close pitches early in the count. He's just in that zone where he's very confident in what he's doing up there, and it's really paying off.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhatever he has changed around has certainly paid dividends. Ironically, the sudden surge has come after the Montero-Cliff Lee trade talks with the Mariners just a few weeks ago.
\r\n
\r\nThe deal, which was all but done early Friday, July 9th, would have sent Montero along with fellow prospects Zach McAllister and David Adams for the Seattle ace.
\r\n
\r\nDid the near-blockbuster deal light a fire underneath the slugger?
\r\n
\r\n\"No, that wasn't it at all,\" Montero opined. \"I'm just trying to have fun and trying to play good baseball for the Yankees. My name was on the TV and in the news, but I'm happy that I stayed with the organization. I love the Yankees and here is where I want to be.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhat he also wants to do is catch for the Yankees. The question has never been Montero's bat, even with his early season struggles, but it has always been whether he could hack it as a major league catcher.
\r\n
\r\nWhile scouts no doubt feel he will be a force in the box for years to come, they are undecided on whether he sizes up better as a catcher or a first baseman.
\r\n
\r\nFor Montero, there is no doubt in his mind what position he wants to play.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't want to move to another position,\" said Montero matter-of-factly. \"I want to be a catcher. My dream is to be in the big leagues as a catcher, I want to be a great hitter and a great catcher, that's what I want.\"
\r\n
\r\nAt the torrid pace Montero has been on since the beginning of July, his chance may be coming sooner than later, but until then, he still knows he needs plenty of work.
\r\n
\r\n\"I have to keep playing hard everyday and become more consistent,\" Montero said. \"I have to go through my whole routine every single day and keep on getting better at the little things.\"
\r\n
\r\n

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

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