Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Johnny Monell has hit 20 home runs this year.
Johnny Monell has progressed slowly through the Giants' system. Playing at Triple-A Fresno, Monell, at the age of 28, is having a fine year.
Monell is currently hitting .281, with 20 home runs and 62 RBI, in 398 at-bats. Monell's OBP is a very strong .370, and his OPS is outstanding, at .880.
The Giants should call Monell up to the majors when rosters expand on September 1. He should also get plenty of opportunities to play.
The Giants will need to determine if Monell is a potential option behind the plate as a backup to Buster Posey. If so, he adds tremendous value to the organization.
Although Monell throws from the right side, he is a left-handed-hitting catcher, which is also somewhat rare. If he shows that he can handle the big leagues, both from an offensive and defensive standpoint, it will give Giants' GM Brian Sabean a great deal of flexibility.
Posey will be the Giants' catcher for the foreseeable future, but the Giants will also have three other good, young prospects. Hector Sanchez is the Giants' current backup, with Monell and Andrew Susac not far behind.
The Giants will have no need for four major league catchers. Sabean will have some trade flexibility with Sanchez, Monell and Susac. Moving one of them could help the Giants strengthen another area.
Good catchers are a valuable commodity, and the Giants have been blessed with several good prospects. Posey will be a Giant for many years, but a trade involving one of the others could be very beneficial.
In 2012, it was catching prospect Tommy Joseph, along with outfielder Nate Schierholtz, who were traded to the Phillies for Hunter Pence. Joseph was the key to the deal, and it ultimately played a huge role in the Giants' 2012 World Series title.
The better Monell plays now, the more the likelihood of a trade is enhanced. Look for a possible deal involving Sanchez, Monell or Susac before the 2014 trade deadline.