New York Yankees: Scouting Jesus Montero
Jesus Montero started the 2011 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before being promoted to the majors in early September. Montero started the season as Baseball America's third overall prospect and ended the season as the sixth-best prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com.
Let's look at Jesus Montero's strengths and weaknesses.
Jesus Montero has a 6'4", 225-pound frame that allows him to drive the ball better than any other prospect in baseball, even at only 22 years old.
Jesus Montero can increase his power over the next few years by improving his mechanics, but Montero's power is already a perfect 80 on the 20-80 scale. He has special talent when it comes to power.
Montero can definitely pull the ball, but Montero has the best opposite-field power among prospects.
All of this shows by his .501 slugging percentage in five seasons in the minors and a .603 slugging percentage in his 20-game sting in New York in 2011.
Bat Control: A+
Jesus Montero has very long arms and very quick hands, which give him some of the best bat speed I have ever seen.
This bat speed comes from great hip rotation during his swing due to his strong legs and core.
Montero uses his bat speed effectively by keeping his bat level to help drive balls that he hits, which is quite a few because he possesses excellent hand-eye coordination in order to square up the ball on his bat. This helps Montero hit pitches that are outside of the strike zone.
Montero also has excellent plate discipline, patience and pitch recognition that help him draw walks and remain selective at the plate, because he rarely swings and misses on pitches out of the strike zone.
Jesus Montero is the proud owner of a .349 batting average in 20 games and 63 plate appearances in the majors in 2011. He also hit .308 in five seasons in the minor leagues.
Due to his high bat speed, level bat and hand-eye coordination, Jesus Montero makes contact with more pitches than most batters. He squares up on pitches very well, and because he makes contact with so many pitches he makes good contact and consistently puts balls in play.
The only time Jesus Montero runs slower than when he is trying to go first to third on a single, is when he is jogging around the bases after a home run. Montero is that slow.
Montero is not as slow as Jorge Posada, but he runs flat-footed and will have trouble hitting extra base hits on anything more than a hard hit into the left-field gap. Also, do not expect him to steal many bases.
Montero may not be fast, but he is a smart baserunner who keeps from making bad decisions on the basepaths.
Jesus Montero is great at the plate, but he is not very good behind the plate.
Montero has a strong arm that can throw out runners at a high rate, but with his 6'4" and 225-pound frame, he is not agile behind the plate—leading to 15 passed balls in 2010. Montero improved his footwork behind the plate in 2011, but he is still a below-average defensive catcher.
Montero is athletic enough to play first base or even a corner outfield position if needed.
Future in New York
Personally, I think Jesus Montero will play a corner infield or outfield position because of his below-average defense behind the plate. Moving out from behind the plate will also help his knees, which will help him keep his power longer into his career.
Jesus Montero has been compared to Miguel Cabrera, and I think he has the ability to be that type of player, minus the off-the-field incidents. Both players play sub-par defense and hit for both average and power.
If Montero is not traded for an ace this offseason, I think he will stay in New York for the rest of his career because Cashman will not be able to trade him after his potential monster 2012 season.