Tag:Jesus Montero
Posted on: August 30, 2011 6:25 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 11:41 pm
 

September Storylines: Minor-leaguers to get calls

Mesoraco

By Evan Brunell

With September around the corner, major-league rosters will be expanded to 40 men, allowing teams to call up players for any reason. Whether that be taking a look at a player that could be a big part of the team's future or supplementing playoff contenders, the transition to 40 men will change games in September. Here's a look at nine players who could have significant roles moving forward that could dictate a team's immediate and long-term future. For the purposes of this discussion, we're limiting the candidates to those with little-to-zero MLB experience, as well as those who have yet to make an impact in the majors. (In other words, no Stephen Strasburg, Pedro Alvarez or similar candidates.)

Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos, Yankees: The hubbub has been all about Jesus Montero for quite some time, and he should finally get the call to New York on Thursday. When he arrives, Montero should collect enough starts behind the dish and as DH for the Yankees to evaluate whether he can help them in October. While the Yankees have enjoyed a productive DH combination of Andruw Jones and Jorge Posada, Montero could easily outdistance the two if he delivers on his promise.

Banuelos, meanwhile, has a chance to be a sneaky threat. The Yankees lack a true viable left-handed reliever as Boone Logan's effectiveness in that role has been deceptive. Banuelos was expected to be converted to relief in the hopes of helping in that role down the stretch, but has remained in the rotation for Triple-A, making six starts and posting a 3.03 ERA, and GM Brian Cashman said a couple weeks ago that it was unlikely Banuelos would be called up.

I'm not sure we should buy into that, however. Banuelos has long been linked to an eventual call-up and can help the team. Plus, don't look now, but the Rays have made up some ground recently, and the wild card is not even close to being in hand, while a three-game set with division-leading Boston coming up Tuesday night will also have ripple effects. Given A.J. Burnett has imploded, Phil Hughes is a box of chocolates (you never know what you're gonna get) and Bartolo Colon has shown chinks in his armor lately, Banuelos could end up a surprise starter down the stretch and save New York's season.

Devin Mesoraco, Reds (pictured): The Reds have an embarrassment of riches at catcher, with Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan equipping themselves well in the majors, while Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal continue rising up prospect charts down on the farm. Mesoraco could be the best of them all and will get a chance to prove that in September. Hitting .289/.372/.486 in 495 plate appearances for Triple-A, the 23-year-old figures to bump Hernandez off the team this winter. The Reds are clear sellers in a disappointing season after winning the division, and a strong debut by Mesoraco could get the team chomping at the bit for 2012.

Anthony Rizzo, Padres: Rizzo fell on his face in an earlier promotion to the majors after ripping apart Triple-A. Hitting .143/.282/.265 in 117 plate appearances isn't how one wants to start his career, but Rizzo should get another shot in September, although he'll have to jostle for playing time due to Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman. The 21-year-old has nothing to prove in the minors, ripping 26 home runs in just 89 Triple-A at-bats and could be an important piece to the Padres' 2012 hopes, so he'll get plenty of chances to redeem himself. The guess here? He will.

September Storylines
To come:
    • A look at the postseason races
Jacob Turner, Tigers: Turner already made a spot start for the Tigers, but Detroit could dip down again for the phenom that could top the rotation one day. The freshly-minted 20-year-old has a 3.44 ERA in 20 minor-league starts, all but three at Double-A. Overall, he's tossed 136 1/3 innings in 2011, which is a significant leap forward from 2010's 115 1/3 innings, so inning limitations could play in. However, if Detroit wants to make the postseason and go deep, they have to do something to support Justin Verlander in the rotation. Max Scherzer has been playing a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde act, and Doug Fister is a capable pitcher but no one's idea of a lockdown starter. If the Tigers take the gloves off, Turner could emerge to be an important piece.

Stephen Lombardozzi, Nationals: The Nationals already have a middle-infield combination in Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, but the Nationals balked at including Lombardozzi in a potential trade for Minnesota's Denard Span for a reason. The second baseman will receive a look in September as a potential solution at second next year, which forces Desmond and Espinosa into a tough position of playing for their jobs. Lombardozzi is only 22 but has handled Triple-A with aplomb, slashing .320/.364/.426 after a promotion from Double-A. If he plays well down the stretch, one of Desmond or Espinosa will likely be playing in another uniform come 2012 and could be the prime bait needed to grab the long-term center fielder the team so covets. A strong September by Lombardozzi could have ramifications for years in Washington.

Wilin Rosario, Rockies: Chris Iannetta hasn't given the Rockies any indication he can be a long-term, viable starter, but it's OK because Rosario can be that man. While Rosario hasn't exactly lit the world on fire in his repeat of Double-A with a .254/.285/.468 line over 410 PA a year after hitting .285/.342/.552 in 297 PA, he will be receiving a call-up and will play extensively down the stretch. Rosario is well-regarded by both the organization and prospect mavens, so he's a player to watch.

Domonic Brown, Phillies: Brown already tried and failed to hold down a starting job earlier this year, and his role will be greatly reduced in September thanks to the recent play of Raul Ibanez and John Mayberry, but don't overlook Brown. Any day, Ibanez or Mayberry could stop hitting and Brown would be looked at to step in and keep the offense going. Even if not, the Phillies have been linked to Jim Thome and Jason Giambi in recent days as ways to shore up the bench. Brown is a left-hander... even if he's not oozing with power or established. Still, he could be that pinch-hit threat off the bench Philadelphia is looking for in October. He hasn't exactly inspired confidence in Triple-A, but the light could go on any day and when it does, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Brett Jackson, Cubs: As the Cubs look to move past the futility that has dogged them in recent years, Brett Jackson could be a breath of fresh air. While his call-up isn't guaranteed, he's ripped apart Triple-A despite striking out in 30.6 percent of his at-bats. That can be forgiven with a .319/.395/.583 line in 186 plate appearances, which could force the Cubs' hand. Long considered the Cubs' center fielder of the future, that could turn into the present as Chicago begins evaluating its prospects for 2012. With Kosuke Fukudome out the door, Tyler Colvin struggling and Marlon Byrd not part of the future, Jackon could be in line for significant playing time. If he produces, that's one less spot Chicago has to worry about filling, and will give the team someone young on offense other than Starlin Castro to build around.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 8, 2011 9:09 pm
 

Report: Montero won't be called up Tuesday

Jesus MonteroBy C. Trent Rosecrans

When Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters that Jorge Posada would no longer be his starting designated hitter against right-handed pitchers, many expected that was a sign that top prospect Jesus Montero would be joining the team soon. That's not the case, according to Mark Carig of the Star-Ledger.

Carig cites a source with "knowledge of the situation," who doesn't have the authorization to speak publicly for the club, as telling him Montero wouldn't join the Yankees on Tuesday when they start a three-game series against the Angels.

A 21-year-old catcher, Montero is hitting .289/.349/.437 with 11 home runs and 51 RBI in 90 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Although Montero is a catcher, his reputation behind the plate isn't great and it's unlikely he'd be used much as a catcher if he were called up in the heat of a pennant race. Instead, he's more likely to serve as a designated hitter and emergency catcher.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Report: Montero on verge of callup to Yanks

MonteroBy Evan Brunell

Hidden in the news about top Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos' promotion to Triple-A is the news that Jesus Montero will be promoted to New York "in the very near future," the Trenton Times reports.

The Yankees do need him at both catcher and DH, spots that Montero can fill in. While his promotion is overdue after hitting .289/.353/.517 with 21 home runs as a 20-year-old in Triple-A back in 2010, Montero did fall off this season when he couldn't come out of spring training with a roster spot. That has contributed to Montero hitting just .283/.342/.429 back at Triple-A, drawing reports that he is "bored," which may have contributed to a recent benching for "lack of energy."

But there's no question that the power Montero flashed last season that made so many teams drool and was almost enough to acquire Cliff Lee is still hiding in his bat. With the Yankees staying pat at the trade deadline, they need to upgrade themselves internally now that Russell Martin has cooled off behind the dish. Martin is hitting .225/.326/.366 on the season in 328 plate appearances, a line that further sinks to .203/.310/.288 in 63 games, from April 27 through July 31.

That just won't cut it, so with the addition of Montero, Martin could start losing playing time. Montero could quickly supplant catcher Francisco Cervelli and enter into a platoon of sorts with Martin provided Montero can keep up his defense behind the plate, which is a significant question mark.

In addition, Jorge Posada's new career as a DH just isn't working out, with nine home runs on the year and a .235/.318/.383 figure. Remember, this is from the DH spot, so he's adding zero defensive value. Here's where Montero can get most of his playing time.

In fact, Posada could be in danger of being released. If Montero is recalled, it stands to reason that one of Cervelli or Posada will lose his job. If it's Cervelli, all of a sudden Martin's two backups are defensively-challenged, and one of them will be starting at DH on any given day. It makes more sense to dump Posada, free up DH for a full-time audition by Montero and leave Cervelli to keep Martin fresh.

Worst case, Montero fails and puts up numbers similar to Posada's. In that case, they're no worse off and can just go acquire a bat at the end of August in advance of the waiver trade deadline.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 27, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 11:40 pm
 

5 prospects to watch at the trade deadline

Yonder AlonsoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The trade deadline has increasingly become about prospects. A team selling needs to buy its future, and nothing screams future like prospects. Gone are the days that a fan base doesn't even blink at trading a young John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander -- even the buyers value their prospects more than ever now. No team wants to make the mistake the Braves made in 2007 when they sent Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus to Texas for a rental like Mark Teixeira.

However, that didn't seem to stop the Giants from taking that chance with right-hander Zach Wheeler, the prospect that triggered Wednesday's trade of Carlos Beltran from New York to San Francisco.

Wheeler, 21, is 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA at high Class A San Jose this season. Wheeler was the Giants' first pick (sixth overall) in the 2009 draft out of a Georgia high school. Baseball America had him rated as the Giants' second-best prospect coming into the season behind Brandon Belt.

Here are some other prospects that may play a large role in whether a deal gets done or not by Sunday.

1. Yonder Alonso, Reds: The Reds raised eyebrows when they drafted Alonso in the first round in 2008 because of Joey Votto -- and that was before Votto had an MVP under his belt. Alonso has been playing left field in the minors, but is truly a first baseman and will have more value there than anywhere. 

The Reds called Alonso up to the big leagues on Tuesday, but he may not want to rent a place in Cincinnati quite yet. Alonso has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Todd Helton at first base for the Rockies if the Rockies pull the trigger on an Ubaldo Jimenez trade.

Alonso was hitting .296/.374/.486 with 12 homers and 56 RBI in 91 games at Triple-A before his call-up. In his first big-league at-bat of the season on Tuesday, Alonso doubled as a pinch hitter. Alonso picked up six hits in 22 games at the end of last season, but appeared mostly as a pinch-hitter with the Reds chasing the pennant and having an MVP in the lineup.

2. Robbie Erlin, Rangers: The left-hander is 5-2 with a 4.32 ERA at Double-A Frisco this season after dominating high Class A in his first nine starts of the season.

Erlin doesn't have overpowering stuff, but is extremely polished for a 20-year old. The Rangers drafted Erlin in the third round in 2009 and gave him over slot money to sign.

Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks noted that Erlin may not be the best fit for Rangers Ballpark because of his flyball tendancies. He also noted the team's first-rounder in 2011, Kevin Matthews, is similar to Erlin. Erlin's stuff projects much better to a National League team, Parks noted, especially a team like San Diego in a pitcher's park that can help out a flyball pitcher (see Harang, Aaron). And it just so happens, the Padres have exactly what the Rangers need -- bullpen help.

3. Jesus Montero, Yankees: Montero's name isn't quite as hot this year as he was last season when the Yankees were hot in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes and later in talks for Joakim Soria. But make no mistake about it, every team the Yankees call will bring up Montero quickly.

There are questions about where Montero will play in the future -- if he's a catcher, first baseman or DH -- but there are no questions about his bat. Montero, in his second year at Triple-A, has shown a drop in his slugging, but a .291/.350/.444 line with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 80 games is nothing to sneeze at, especially if he can catch.

4. Jonathan Singleton, Phillies: Like Alonso, Singleton is blocked by a superstar at first base. Not only is Ryan Howard an established star, he's also signed through 2016.

The Phillies are reluctant to deal top prospect Domonic Brown, but are open to offers for Singleton because of the Howard factor. Just 19, Singleton is hitting .284/.386/.413 with nine home runs and 47 RBI for high Class A Clearwater. Last season he was the youngest regular in the South Atlantic League and had the third-highest on-base percentage (.393) and fourth-best slugging percentage (.479).

5. Addison Reed, White Sox: Here's an interesting one -- the White Sox are still hanging around the race and with a victory over the Tigers on Wednesday, Chicago is just 3 1/2 games out of first place in the division and 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland for second. The White Sox also upgraded their bullpen on Wednesday, adding Jason Frasor as well as minor leaguer Zach Stewart. Stewart made three starts for the Blue Jays, but has been used both as a starter and a reliever during his professional career.

Reed, a right-handed reliever, throws in the mid-90s and has a very good slider, projecting as a solid reliever and maybe future closer. However, minor-league relievers aren't as highly valued as any other position, meaning the White Sox may not get much for him straight up, but he would be a valuable add-in.

Reed, 22, was a closer for San Diego State behind Stephen Strasburg and has struck out 87 batters in 59 innings this season, pitching in four levels. He's currently at Triple-A Charlotte, where he's made one appearance.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:39 pm
 

Yankees have best chance at Ubaldo

By Danny Kobler

Of all the teams that showed interest in Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez -- and there were a lot -- the Yankees have the best chance of actually landing him, according to major-league sources.

The Rockies are still telling teams that they don't need to trade Jimenez, who is 27 years old and is signed to a team-friendly contract that could run through 2014. But it's clearer than ever that the Rockies are willing to make a deal, with the Reds and possibly the Red Sox as other teams that match up well enough to get a deal done.

The Rangers showed signficant interest in Jimenez early on, but sources said Wednesday that they were all but out now, in large part because the teams just don't match up on the value placed on prospects. Another impediment to a Rockies-Rangers deal is the lingering frustration over last year's failed talks for Michael Young, but it appears the bigger problem was a lack of a match on prospects.

Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said earlier this month that he would require "a Herschel Walker-type deal" to trade Jimenez, but it appears that O'Dowd would be willing to accept something less than that, perhaps along the lines of deals that were made in recent months for Matt GarzaZack Greinke and Cliff Lee.

The Yankees have basically declared top prospect Manuel Banuelos off-limits in talks, but they have enough depth that they could put together an attractive package without him. O'Dowd is said to want three or four players in return for Jimenez, and it's thought that some combination of Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Dellin Betances, Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes could convince the Rockies to make a deal.

The Reds also have enough prospects to make a trade work, but they have indicated a strong reluctance to deal catcher Devin Mesoraco, the prospect who most interests the Rockies.

Talks with the Red Sox apparently haven't advanced as far, but it's believed that they would need to build a package around pitcher Kyle Weiland.

Other teams that showed early interest in Jimenez include the Tigers and Blue Jays, but the chances of a deal with either of those teams appear far more remote at this point.

The Yankees' pieced-together starting rotation has performed well, but they still don't have a clear No. 2 starter behind ace CC Sabathia. The Yankees have looked at many available starting pitchers, including Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers and Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros, but Jimenez is the one guy who could slot in behind Sabathia in their rotation and make them more dangerous in October.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: July 26, 2011 8:21 am
 

Monday's trade rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

As the non-waiver trade deadline looms on Sunday, the rumors are coming fast and furious -- with some make sense and others not so much. Much of what you hear at this time of year is a smokescreen, but baseball fans love gossip more than junior high school girls, with less regard to the truth. So, to help satisfy that desire, we're rounding up the day's rumors in one place.

• The Rays won't deal James Shields, our own CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler reports. Tampa Bay has told other teams that they won't discuss Shields, David Price or Jeremy Hellickson. That said, Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis are available, as is B.J. Upton.

MLB Trade Deadline

• The Rays are also offering closer Kyle Farnsworth to anyone interested, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.

• CBSSports.com's Scott Miller says he's also heard that the Phillies have "way cooled" on acquiring Carlos Beltran, backing up Knobler's report from Sunday.

• Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets the Rangers and Giants are ahead of the Phillies and Braves as of Monday.

• The chance of the Rockies dealing Ubaldo Jimenez is "around 50/50" FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi writes, citing a "major-league source close to the talks." He adds the Reds are still involved and the Tigers are interested as well. Morosi reports one team has exchanged names with the Rockies.

• The Reds are drawing interest on right-hander Edinson Volquez, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweets.

• The Cardinals and Nationals have talked about sending Todd Coffey -- a former Red and Brewer -- to St. Louis. The team would like to keep Tyler Clippard, but if someone wows them, they're open, Morosi tweets.

• The Yankees won't move top prospects -- such as left-hander Manny Banuelos, right-hander Dellin Betances or catchers Jesus Montero or Austin Romine -- unless they get an ace-type pitcher in return, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.

• The Phillies are "aggressive" on Heath Bell and Mike Adams of the Padres, but are surprised they aren't getting more interest fron the Yankees, Cardinals and Reds, Sherman tweets.

• Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez is available, but with $40 million left on his contract, another general manager tells Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, "nobody's going to touch Wandy."

• Hiroki Kuroda would consider waiving his no-trade clause if he's sent to the Yankees or Red Sox, "a baseball official"  tells ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand. However, the teams "hottest" on Kuroda are reportedly the Indians, Tigers and Rangers, according to Rosenthal.

• It's not a trade, but a player acquisition -- the Brewers, Giants, Mariners and A's are interested in Wily Mo Pena, who was released by the Diamondbacks on Sunday, Heyman tweets. He makes the most sense in the American League where he doesn't need a glove. [Heyman]

• Aaron Harang had been mentioned in some trade talks, but there are reports that San Diego would like to keep him and re-sign him, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Harang, a San Diego native, would love to stay there -- and keep pitching in Petco Park.

• The Phillies are interested in Colorado's Jason Giambi, Rosenthal tweets. Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post tweets the Pirates are interested in Giambi as well. He's hitting .263/.360/.632 with 10 homers in 111 plate appearances. Giambi had talked about possibly moving to an American League team to DH, but he could still be a valuable left-handed bat off the bench for a National League team. [FoxSports.com and Denver Post]

• The Braves are still interested in the Astros' Hunter Pence, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

• Angels manager Mike Scioscia told MLB.com's Lyle Spencer the team probably wouldn't make a big move at the trade deadline, instead hoping the team can improve from within -- especially with the addition of Fernando Rodney from the disabled list.

• Texas manager Ron Washington called the bullpen a "priority" at the trading deadline, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.

• One reliever who won't be available to the Rangers, or anyone, is Seattle closer Brandon League. Chuck Armstrong tells Morosi a trade involving League is not likely.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: June 23, 2011 7:33 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 9:49 pm
 

Montero benched by Yankees for lack of 'energy'

MonteroBy Evan Brunell

Earlier this month, top Yankees prospect Jesus Montero was benched for two games for a lack of "energy," ESPN New York reports.

Montero, who was in the running to grab a backup catcher's spot in spring training, was instead optioned to Triple-A after a poor showing, which has continued. Many believed that Montero was upset he was returned to Triple-A rather than playing under the bright lights of New York.

"I just get the feeling that Monte is so blessed physically -- and I hate to say it -- he is almost bored here in Triple-A," said Scranton hitting coach Butch Wynegar. "Maybe if he went to the big leagues tomorrow, this kid might just go off and he just might lock in."

"I think he expected to be in the big leagues by now," Mark Newman, the head of the minor leagues for New York, added. "And that is OK, too. Part of the development process is to learn how to deal with frustration, learn how to deal with things when they don't go exactly your way."

Montero was benched June 11 and 12, although he was used as a pinch-hitter on the 12th in a 12-inning game.

It's hard to blame the 21-year-old, who hit .289/.353/.517 last season in Triple-A and is probably the best option for the Yankees to DH, if Jorge Posada wasn't blocking the way. He's currently hitting .291/.337/.410, with just five home runs after bashing 21 last season. He's also thrown out just 17.8 percent of basestealers, which would rank among the worst in baseball, although Wynegar says he is becoming a better defender.

All this is a learning experience for Montero, who admitted he may have tried too hard in spring training when he saw a chance to make the big-league team -- and may have continued his bad habits of trying to over-pull the ball down in the minors.

"It is all in becoming a first-rate professional and he is still in the middle of that process," Newman noted.

If Montero can start raking soon, he could find himself in the majors before long. The Yankees aren't expected to continue giving playing time to Posada deep into the second half of the season if he doesn't start hitting better, which he has done so far in June.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:13 pm
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