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Did We All Overrate Montero?



By Mike Silva ~ June 22nd, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

As we near the trading deadline, the name Jesus Montero will probably become very popular around here. The Yankees top prospect will undoubtedly be part of conversations when the Yankees talk trade with other clubs. Although I haven’t seen him play in person this year, the reports indicate he hasn’t made much progress defensively, and the offense, although solid, is nothing overwhelming. Going into tonight’s action he is hitting .290 with 5 homers and 26 RBI. I wonder if we overrated Montero, and perhaps if the Yankees should sell now before his value plummets.

Yes, his offense as currently constituted is very solid for a catcher. The problem is his defense, which by all accounts hasn’t improved very much this year. His .746 OPS is very average at first or at corner outfield position; probably the only other places the Yankees could attempt to play him. It also isn’t overwhelming as a designated hitter.

To be fair, Montero is only 21 years old. There is a lot of growth still to be had, but players who become stars are usually ascending at that age, or already establishing themselves in the big leagues. Even more concerning is his lefty/righty splits, which are heavily skewed towards LHP. He has a .896 OPS vs. left handers versus a very below average .692 vs. right handers. That makes for a good platoon partner for Jorge Posada at the DH, but not someone you deem untouchable in a trade for pitching.

I am not suggesting the Yankees just give Montero away for anyone. When we suggested last night they wouldn’t be averse to including him in a deal for the Astros Wandy Rodriguez, there was immediate pushback from the comments section. If Rodriguez is the kind of pitcher that can round out the rotation, and have the moxie and repertoire to beat the Red Sox, are you going to pass on him because of Montero? It wouldn’t be my first offer, but I am not sure it’s a deal breaker. Remember, the Yankees have Austin RomineGary Sanchez, and J.R. Murphy behind him that may be as  good, or better than Montero. Each has better defensive potential as well.

An average hitter/no defense catcher doesn’t really have a place in the modern game that values defense and run prevention. Right now, you may still be able to sell other teams on his ceiling. That will change if he continues to show no improvement at Triple-A.  Montero’s bat, as current constituted, doesn’t outweigh the defensive shortcomings. Perhaps it’s a good idea to trade him and improve the 2011 Yankees, instead of hoping he can help future editions.

 

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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5 Responses to Did We All Overrate Montero?

  1. T.O. Chris

    You can decide he is only a .746 OPS guy because of half of one season. Are we forgetting the fact that Montero was worse than this to start last season? When July came around he went on one of the hottest streaks in minor league baseball, and showed the potential .300-30-100 scouts have talked about. He certainly isn’t a finished product, but what 21 year old is?

    Montero is not untouchable, but for Wandy Rodriguez he is certainly a deal breaker. Montero should only be traded in a package for a top end, young starter, Wandy is not this. In fact he 33 years old, he is owed a decent amount of money for the next 2 years, and his stuff is less than stellar. I have trouble seeing him as anymore than our number 3 starter, and a perfect world our 4 pitcher.

    I live in Houston and see Wandy pitch all the time, he’s a decent starter, but he is no top of the rotation starter.

  2. Chuck Johnson

    Long time since Dugout Central, Mike.

    Not all of us overrated Montero, he may be the least impressive “top prospect” I’ve ever seen.

    He’s played 170 or so AAA games and his numbers there trump the 250 or so he played in lower classifications. This is the closest step to the majors, hitting 20 homers in A ball three years ago is irrelevant at this point.

    I’ve watched forty or so Scranton games over the past year and a half and he hits more balls to right field than any right-handed hitter I’ve seen.

    He’s 6’3″, 235 and hits like David Eckstein.

    He hit .365 in April in 17 games. Think that’s impressive? He had a .360 OBP.

    In 74 at bats, he had six RBI’s.

    In 58 games for the season, he has 17 XBH and 26 RBI. Take away his homers, he has 17 RBI.

    This is a guy you have hitting third in your order?

    In 26 home games, he’s hitting .236/1/8.

    In sixteen games since June first, his OBP is .303.

    Opposing teams attempted 1.3 stolen bases per game. That’s a huge number.

    Whether he’s shown improvement behind the plate doesn’t matter, do something long enough and you’re bound to get better.

    Remember training wheels?

    The Yankees problems at catcher have been well documented since the end of last season.

    If the Yankees even remotely thought Montero could handle the job, they wouldn’t have signed Russell Martin.

    And if you remember, Montero wasn’t one of the last cuts in spring training, he was one of the first.

    He has more value to the Yankees catching every day in AAA as opposed to once or twice a week in New York.

    If he’s still in the organization on August first, I’ll eat my hat.

    And yours too.

    Montero is right up there with Jackson Melian and Drew Henson on the list of monumental Yankee prospect failures.

    Chuck Johnson
    Surprise, AZ

  3. WTF

    Henson and Melian? Henson was a career .248 hitter in the minors (.234 in AAA) and Melian had a .258 mark (.202 in AAA).

    Meanwhile, Montero has a .310 average while being the youngest (or close to it) player for his age at each level.

    He’s had 3 great years in the minors, but after a disappointing 2.5 months in 2011 people are writing him off? That’s crazy talk, especially when disappointment is defined as a 21 year old hitting .290 at the most strenuous position while being one of the youngest players in AAA.

    He may end up being a disappointment and may only be an average major league players, but everything he has done so far in the minors at his age has warranted his elite top 10 prospect status.

  4. Dave

    Name me a New Yrok prospect that’s not over rated!!!

  5. Russ Cress

    Dave,

    I can name you plenty of NY prospects who were not overrated.

    Ever hear of a guy named Robinson Cano? The guy who the Yankees tried to trade 3 times, and Texas turned down as the throw in in the A-Rod/Soriano deal in favor of Joaquin Arias?

    This is the year of Everyone Loves Brett Gardner, but when he was a prospect it was said he’d never make it to the majors and if he does he’ll never hit and his destiny lied in being a 5th OF/PR. How’s he doing now?

    I could go on, but why bother with a laundry list of examples here.

    Now, if you said “name me a Boston or Tampa prospect who isn’t overrated” you could make a better case. In fact, over the past decade you could say the Most Overrated Prospects title belongs to Oakland. After all, they’re making a freaking movie about Money Ball which last time I checked was an epic failure. The closest Jeremy Brown got to the big leagues was on the side of a milk carton in a ballpark restaurant.

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