Blog Entry

Rough spring leaves Montero in minors

Posted on: March 29, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: March 29, 2011 1:54 pm
By Matt Snyder

The Yankees' 21-year-old phenom, Jesus Montero, was thought by many to have his opening to join the big-league club when Francisco Cervelli fell injured early in camp. What happened in the ensuing weeks, however, sealed the immediate fate of the young catcher. He's headed back to Triple-A while Gustavo Molina will back up Russell Martin in the bigs.

There were always defensive concerns with Montero, but by most accounts he was downright awful behind the plate. But he's a highly-touted prospect -- top five in the majors -- due to his bat, and he didn't swing it that well, either. He hit .250/.286/.300. Yes, that's a .300 slugging percentage, which is in the Luis Castillo range.

This is a guy who hit 21 home runs and 34 doubles in 123 Triple-A games last season. He had an .870 OPS. If you talk to anyone who has scouted this guy, he'll tell you Montero is going to hit. If not now, he will eventually.

The problem there is the Yankees in 2011 are, just like every year, in a World Series or bust mode. Joel Sherman of the New York Post surmises the Yankees were counting on Montero being worked in behind the plate like Jorge Posada was with Joe Girardi back in 1997 -- that the job was "Montero's to lose and he lost it."

If that's true, and I'm inclined to believe it is, Montero blew a big chance this spring. The bright side, however, is the club still believes he's the catcher of the future and he's only 21. There's plenty of time to grow, just not on the 2011 Yankees -- not until something changes.

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Category: MLB
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:21 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 3:01 pm

Rough spring leaves Montero in minors

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:46 pm

Rough spring leaves Montero in minors

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Since: Jul 9, 2007
Posted on: March 30, 2011 8:39 am
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Since: Jul 24, 2009
Posted on: March 30, 2011 8:20 am

Rough spring leaves Montero in minors

I think the Yankees are doing the right thing here.  Montero needs to play everyday. He isn't going to improve his hitting and catching skills by playing once a week as a backup.  I say give him half a year in AAA and if he's doing well, the Yanks can call him up again.  

Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: March 30, 2011 3:16 am

Montero is still VERY YOUNG

I've been following the Montero saga this spring while covering the Yankees in Tampa, and I can tell you from experience that you cannot judge a 21 yr ballplayer at any position that quickly.  If he can hit (and that is always a big IF), there are other positions for him to play. Also, it is far better for him to play every day at AAA rather than to get spot starts and linger on the bench at 21.  The Yankees generally know what they are doing, and they made the right decision here.  
Art Tafero

Since: Nov 17, 2009
Posted on: March 29, 2011 8:22 pm

Rough spring leaves Montero in minors

its nice to have such problems...  the article gets published because anything negative about the Yankees gets attention.  Lots of special needs fans out there (just look at some of the posts in this thread) that need to hate...  It's ok, actually, when it stops that's when the Yankees have real problems...  No one hating on the O's or the Jays these days...

Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: March 29, 2011 8:09 pm

Rough spring leaves Montero in minors

Unfortunately for you Yankee haters they set  the bar for excellence and winning. The most storied, loved, hated and feared franchise ever.  Win and win now should be what every pro franchise should be practicing.  Does Tom Brady go into the season hoping to just to play decent ball and build for the next few years for a championship run? DUH no!  The jury is still still out on Montero.  I wouldn't get too excited yet about him being a Yankee bust.  If I were you I would worry about the Red Sux bullpen and hope they can save some games for their SP's and get to the ALCS not some 21 year old Yankee catcher on his way to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: March 29, 2011 7:48 pm

Rough spring leaves Montero in minors

I don't really understand the criticism either.  Catching is the toughest position mentally and physically to play.  The kid is 21.  Can he learn yes.  Can he hit yes.  I difinitely would have kept him on the big club and work it out with Martin and Posada there for real insurance.  But as impatient as the Yankees are if he doesn't make it up to the big club by next year he no doubt will be used in a trade.  After that his head may be too messed up to play period.  A good spring or a bad spring equates to nothing in the regular season.  If you have the tools they show up.  If you don't its a career in the minors or winter ball in PR or the DR.

Since: Jul 23, 2008
Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:56 pm

Rough spring leaves Montero in minors

Austin Romine & Gaby Sanchez can't BOTH be the Yankees catcher of the future.  Once of them has to be "THE" Catcher and the other one will be "the other" catcher.  It is way too early to say which Yankees Catcher Prospect is THE YANKEES CATCHER OF THE FUTURE.  A lot can happen between now and then.  Some players get better, others don't.  Some have motivation and self-discipline to stay out of trouble off-the-field.  And others don't.  If Montero is trade bait when will his value be higher?  When he is 26 and hasn't established himself as a major league starting catcher?  If he is trade bait then time is running out for that.  Other teams are looking for a player that is young and has a high ceiling (and has a low salary).  So, maybe a dominating season at triple A is what Yankees want from him so that they will have an even more valuable TRADING CHIP.  If you don't know these kids personally then you don't know which one will fit the Yankees clubhouse chemistry best.  There's a lot more to a player than physical attributes and numbers.  Why do you think the Red Sox hired someone to follow Carl Crawford?  They knew a lot about him as a player from his stats and I am sure they talked to many front office people, coaches and former teammates.  But, that wasn't enough.  YOU GOTTA KNOW THE GUY A LITTLE TO KNOW WHAT KIND OF PLAYER HE WILL BE.  Until I hear otherwise I will assume that the YANKEES Catcher Prospects all have good character & will eventually be separated by their hustle, training and performance on the field.  That separation did not happen when it was decided to send Montero to the minors!  Give me a break!  He's only 21!

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