I was down in Tampa, Fl the beginning of this week for some spring training baseball. During my stay I went to a couple of games at George M. Steinbrenner Field and a game at Tiger Town, the Florida home of the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fl.
At one of the games at George M. Steinbrenner FieldI was able to watch Jesus Montero during one of his workouts. This was really exciting for me to watch, because I never saw a major league catcher train before. Even if you didn't know Montero was the Yankee's top prospect, you knew something was up when you saw Joe Girardi training and working with him. This was something special to watch, seeing Girardi getting down on his knees showing Montero exactly what he needs to do, it was quite amazing.
Montero is not the top prospect for his abilities at the catcher position, he is because of his bat. Montero is an exceptional hitter, with an ability to hit for power and average and every side of the field. He will most likely be used as a DH, since Mark Teixeria is committed at first base for a long time. Montero wants to be a catcher and it is still a possibility that he can be, he just needs to work on his skills behind the plate a little more. Girardi was working on getting Montero's throwing arm to release the ball sooner and not have his arm go as far back when he throws the ball. If he can achieve this then he will be able to release the ball quicker. I was very impressed with Montero's work behind the plate, but I still do not think he will be a top catcher in the big leagues.
The Yankees have Nick Johnson as their DH this year, so unless he gets hurt or there are some other injuries on the team, I do not think we will be seeing much of Montero this year. Next year is a different story. There will be no Johnson, a hole in the DH spot, and a 21 year old kid who can hit like the best of them. I believe that Montero will fill the DH spot in the Yankees lineup in 2011, probably hitting behind A-Rod. This kid is going to be something special and I am very excited to see him excel in the majors.