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Jesus Montero: Is the New York Yankees Prospect the Real Deal?

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05:  Jesus Montero #63 of the New York Yankees runs the bases after his seventh-inning two-run home run against the Baltimore Orioles on September 5, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. It was montero's second home run of the game.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Chris CortesCorrespondent ISeptember 6, 2011

There is always a certain amount of hype leading up to the debut of a highly touted prospect in the major leagues.

I can think back to David Price debuting for the Tampa Bay Rays and immediately wreaking havoc on the Boston Red Sox in the 2008 ALCS. Another debut that comes to mind is the debut of the Baltimore Orioles Matt Wieters. He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2010 and this switch-hitting catcher went on to be named to his first All-Star team this 2011 season.

However, for every Price and Wieters, there is a Lastings Milledge. Milledge was a prospect for the Mets who made his debut in 2006. His debut was highly anticipated as he was thought to be yet another piece in the puzzle for the Mets, who already had blossoming talent in David Wright and Jose Reyes. 

The Mets came to a crossroads during the 2006 season: They could either trade Milledge in a package deal that would bring them Barry Zito in return, or hold onto Milledge and rely on the pitching they already had in the playoffs.

The Mets chose the latter. The Mets would advance to the NLCS and lose to the Cardinals.

What makes this worse is that Milledge has never lived up to the hype and has had a career bouncing between the majors and Triple-A. Imagine if the Mets would have dealt him for another starting pitcher; they could have very well been playing in the '06 World Series.

Prospects are always risky, and many teams often are faced with the dilemma of either developing the prospects they already have or trading them away for veterans.

Over the past decade, the Yankees have tended to choose the former. This, in and of itself, makes Jesus Montero's debut in pinstripes much more notable, as Montero has been rumored in trades involving Cliff Lee and Ubaldo Jimenez in just the past year. 

Neither trade happened, and now, the Yankees await to see if he was the prospect worth waiting for, or if they missed out on valuable pitching for him.

While there is a lot of risk, there was tremendous comfort in seeing Montero blast two home runs verses the Orioles Monday night. The 21-year-old Montero, in a lot of ways, is the perfect prospect for the Yankees.

He has been top-rated catching prospect in baseball and will add some youth to a Yankees roster that has many stars finding themselves on the wrong side of 30. Montero will also be an immediate boost as a catcher or DH.

Whatever the case may be, Montero has had the bar set high for him and this is only amplified with the fact he is starting his career in New York. Despite the high expectations, today was a day in which Montero began to prove his worth.

Let's hope this is the first of many of these type of days for Jesus Montero.

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