Jesus Montero has hit five home runs over the last 4 days at AA, and seems to be having no trouble with the adjustment to a higher level. Austin Jackson, on the other hand, has some nice rate stats at AAA, but is displaying little power, striking out a ton, and has an insanely high BABIP propping up his batting average. Jim Callis mentioned both players in his recent chat:
rbizzler: Any thoughts on Jesus Montero being promoted to AA and continuing to mash? In your opinion, what should be the Yanks timetable for a position switch as the bat is light years ahead of the D?
Jim Callis: He’s one of the very best hitters in the entire minors. Though I don’t think he’s going to catch in the big leagues, and he’s not going to displace Mark Teixeira as a first baseman. I guess they could try him in left field, but for now, I’d still be trying to see if I could make him a catcher.
Sam: Does Slade Heathcott have more upside than Austin Jackson?
Jim Callis: Yes.
As Callis states, it has become very clear that Montero has the stick to be a force in the majors. Unlike some minor league hitting phenoms who build a reputation based on power, Montero is noted for his excellent plate discipline and great batting eye. Combine that with strong contact rates and good power, and you have a bat that has a chance to be a star even in left or at first base. I would be very surprised if Montero is not in the top 15 on the major top prospect lists for 2010.
Regarding Jackson, it seems that his star has dimmed a bit in the scouting world. Keith Law recently stated that he does not see star potential in Jackson anymore, and that he profiles as a solid regular. While solid regulars are important to develop and allow the team to spend money elsewhere, that is not the kind of prospect who is untouchable in the right deal. If the club had a major injury and needed to add a middle of the order bat or top of the rotation starter, I would have no qualms trading Jackson for the right piece. It seems that in terms of value, he and Montero are moving in opposite directions.
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