Jesus Montero is currently putting up a .292/.338/.421 line for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, to go along with 10 doubles, five home runs, and 25 RBIs. He has posted a less than spectacular 13:50 BB:K.
Not exactly world-beating stats from one of the top prospects in all of baseball, but then again he is just 21-years-old.
Frankie Piliere compiled a list of prospects he believes will be called up once the "Super Two" deadline passes and mentioned Montero saying this about him:
The Yankees have had opportunities to bring Montero to the big leagues since spring training but have yet to pull the trigger. Montero hasn’t exactly made it difficult for them, however. He struggled in spring training and has been stuck in a deep slump for a couple weeks now. There has even been some further concern about his overall attitude and approach since he didn’t go north with the club out of spring training. When it comes down to it, however, the expectation is that Montero will take off in the summer months like he did last year. Considering his overall numbers are still pretty solid, once he gets hot, his production numbers will look gaudy in a hurry. If he can heat up, show continued progress behind the plate, and display a better overall demeanor, considering the current Yankee injury woes, they may not be able to keep him Triple-A beyond the end of July.
Now the whole "Super Two" theory is very plausible for holding most prospects in the minors—such as Desmond Jennings, Brett Lawrie, and Dustin Ackley, as Frankie mentions—but I do not see it being a huge issue with Montero.
The most obvious reason for this is that these are the New York Yankees we are talking about. Money is never an issue when it comes to them. I could see a service time issue being a concern with Montero reaching free agency earlier than he needs to, but not one that would just cost the Yankees a couple extra million. Baseball is a business, so it makes sense to save money whenever you can, but the Yankees are going to put the best possible product on the field at whatever the cost may be.
A simple look at the Yankees current depth chart will explain another main reason why Montero has been left down in Triple-A: there is just no room for him on this year's team. With Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli at catcher, he is not going to see anytime behind the plate; and with Jorge Posada being regulated to DH duty, that position is filled up so he won't get everyday playing time.
Martin cooled off significantly in May, but he has contributed enough to earn some more playing time as the starter, and while Cervelli hasn't hit as well as he has the last two years, it is a very small sample size and he has proven to be a perfect backup catcher.
While I may sound a bit contradictory in saying the Yankees will put the best product on the field at any cost, but that the light-hitting Posada of 2011 would get playing time over Montero as DH, there are just different rules that apply to someone like Posada. He has been one of the faces of the franchise for over a decade now and you cannot run him out of the lineup for a rookie over a two-month slump. Oh, and by the way, Posada has been red hot in June and has finally shown signs of life with some big hits.
If Montero was setting Triple-A on fire like he did last year, he would be up right now and room would have been made for him. The fact is, he has shown in spring training and the early portions of this year that there are still some holes in his game he needs to shape up.
Montero will undoubtedly get a cup of coffee come September, but unless the current back injury forces Martin to the DL or Posada gets hurt before then, I do not see any situation where the Yankees call him up. The reason is not to avoid Super Two status and Frankie Piliere alluded to in his article.
On a side note, it benefits the Yankees to keep Montero in Triple-A to play everyday and show his worth for any possible trades at the deadline.