Friday, January 13, 2012

Road to Yankee Stadium Top 10: #1 Jesus Montero

Jesus Montero, C, AAA


In 2011, Jesus Montero finally got a chance at the big leagues and lived up to the hype so far. This season he spent most of his time in his second season at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA).  There he continued to hit.  He hit .288 with 18 HRs, 19 doubles, 52 runs, and 67 RBIs in 109 games.  Then he got called up to the majors late in the season and had a great ending to his season.  In the Bronx he hit .328 with 4 HRs, 4 doubles, 9 runs and 12 RBIs in only 18 games.  He truly burst on the scene and gave all of us prospects watching a glimpse of his bright future.

Montero was signed out of Venezuela as an nondrafted free agent in late 2006 as a 17 year old.  He played his first season in 2007 in the GCL.  In two years he was already in Trenton (AA).  In his second year in the minors, in Charleston (LoA) he had hit .326 with 17 HRs and 87 RBIs.  This season had him ranked as the #38 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America.  Then between Tampa (HiA) and Trenton in 2009 he had an amazing season.  In Tampa he hit .356 with 8 HRs, and 37 RBIs in 48 games and then in Trenton he hit .317 with 9 HRs and 33 RBIs.  Following this season Baseball America named him the Yankees top prospect and the #4 prospect in all of baseball.  He was then called up to AAA in 2010 (This is what it means to be fast tracked through the minors) and hit .289 with 21 HRs and 75 RBIs.  After that season he remained the Yankees top prospect and moved up to #3 overall by Baseball America.

Going forward Montero has a truly bright future.  This should be the last year he is listed on any prospect lists, since he should start the 2012 season at the big league level.  He has proved his is ready and can hit.  The biggest question mark with him is his catching.  Many scouts do not see him as a viable option at catcher at the big league level.  However, the Yankees have always disputed this and seem to think he is the catcher of the future.  Next year will be very telling.  Since the Yankees have Russell Martin signed, Montero should be the backup catcher and full time DH.  This will give him a chance to show if he can catch, without having to rely solely on him.  Hopefully he can succeed because he certainly can hit and having a good hitting catcher is a rare commodity in the majors.  Hopefully he can stick in the majors starting next season and have a very successful career.

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