Jesus Montero: 4 Reasons the New York Yankees Should Call Him Up Right Now
Critics might bash Rivera's performance, as the loss gave the Red Sox sole possession of first place in the AL East.
However, Mo's blow wasn't the driving factor in the Yankees' loss—it was the lack of hitting.
Gathering eight hits against Josh Beckett isn't terrible, but scoring just two runs is.
Their swings were flat and untimely while the pitching was fantastic in allowing just two runs in the first nine innings.
So, what's the solution?
The best option looks to be calling up their top-prospect catcher, Jesus Montero.
Montero, a 21-year-old Venezuelan, was signed by the Yankees in 2006, and has been playing with their Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Yankees, for the past two seasons.
According to Baseball America, Montero was ranked third amongst prospects across the nation before the 2011 season.
Here are four reasons that should convince the Yankees to promote their budding star.
Montero's Strong Bat
Montero's most prominent strength is his ability to hit the ball.
Some claim that his production has not been as high as expected, but his statistics show he is doing pretty well.
In his time with Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre, Jesus' statline looks like this: 108 R, .289 BA, 32 HR, 126 RBI, .833 OPS.
He isn't putting up Babe Ruth's numbers, don't get me wrong, but he is hitting better than the average MLB player.
The point is, he isn't being asked to come up to bat clean-up and hit .330 as the Yankees already have one of the best lineups in baseball.
With Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, a healthy and scandal-free Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez batting in front of him, he doesn't need to be the best player on the field quite yet.
Jesus is full of potential. Every scouting report raves about what he'll be able to do for the Yankees in the future.
MLB.com's report boasts, "It would be difficult to find someone with anything critical to say about Montero's bat. He's going to hit for plenty of average and he's got perhaps as much raw power as anyone in the Minors; he's just starting to tap into it. He's got great pitch recognition and bat control."
The young slugger could do a lot of damage at the major league level.
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As you may know, Jesus Montero gets a ton of grief for his fielding.
However, this notion is slightly misguided.
I'm not suggesting that he'll be a top fielding catcher, but at the very least he is functional behind the plate.
The MLB.com scouting report feels that he is too big and not agile enough to be a great catcher, but he isn't terrible at it by any means.
MLB.com's scouting report continues to be a helpful tool, quoting the Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations, Mark Newman, "He's a very advanced bat with power. He has improved greatly as a defender. He's got above-average arm strength and threw out a higher percentage of basestealers at Double-A than he did in A-ball."
His 21 caught stealing percentage in his minor league career doesn't look so remarkable, but if he's been improving like the scouts claim, he can bud into an efficient fielding catcher.
Frankie Camp, a writer for the informative Pinstripe Alley, realizes, "Forget about not sticking at catcher. We have a report coming from a scout that his time to second base is above average. The world must be ending."
He rarely makes an error or allows a pass ball, and it would only be a slight downgrade from Russell Martin's 28 caught stealing percentage.
As the always confident Jesus said himself, "I want to be a catcher. I love to catch. I like to be a catcher. I like to be in the middle of the game. I mean, it's my position. I want to play my position."
He's redundant, but you get the point.
If you still aren't convinced, take a look at Mike Piazza's defensive stats and tell me if he was worth it or not.
Current Yankee Catchers
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Derek Jeter's decline has been made a huge deal in the media and by fans everywhere, but Jorge Posada's plummet in production has been far more damaging to the team.
After his ability to play behind the plate completely diminished, he was made this year's full-time DH. But Posada is hitting very poorly, which Brian Cashman didn't prepare for.
Cashman did prepare for a fielding replacement, though, in Russell Martin. This hasn't fared as well as the Yankees had hoped.
Now, I'm not one to say that the Russell Martin signing was a mistake, because I don't necessarily believe it was. That being said, Martin is not playing at the caliber that is needed of him. His .228 BA is closer to the Mendoza Line than that of a star catcher, and at .250, Francisco Cervelli isn't doing much better.
Martin, after Tuesday, has 39 runs, 12 homers, 45 RBI, and a .707 OPS in 87 games, which is subpar.
This type of play just isn't acceptable for an everyday player.
We already went over Montero's fielding, but Frankie Camp gives the comparison better perspective:
Montero has made just two errors to go along with six passed balls. For comparison's sake, Russell Martin has been worse, with seven errors and five passed balls. Francisco Cervelli has allowed three passed balls and made five errors to go along with an abysmal eight percent caught stealing rate (two-for-25) in limited playing time.
Even if Montero plays worse than we expect, it will likely still be an upgrade from the current catching situation.
Future World Series Hopes
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If the Yankees want to see that trophy sitting atop that stand any time in the near future, Jesus Montero's promotion is the right decision.
With catchers like Victor Martinez, Alex Avila, Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli on other AL playoff contenders, it shows how important of a position it is—They are a part of every play.
Even Jarrod Saltalamacchia is hitting almost 30 points higher than Martin.
If the Yankees want their lineup to keep up with the best in the AL (especially the Red Sox, who have proved to be the best team in the league thus far), they need to put the best players available out on the field.
Also, the Yankees need to remember how they have become the epitome of winners in sports, and that's to make baseball the top priority.
Just because a player is making a certain salary or has proven to be great in the past doesn't mean that they are the best option for the present.
As Michael Kay, Ken Singleton and Paul O'Neill rehashed the brutal way in which Phil Rizzuto was released, they came to the conclusion that unless a player leaves with his skills intact, no career ends on good terms.
Putting off the future is never the answer.
This is something that the Yanks have been the best at ever since George Steinbrenner bought the team.
Clearly, Jesus Montero is the future catcher of this franchise, and bringing him up to the majors as soon as possible is the best thing to do.