A little more than a week ago, I posted an article that was a relatively sobering look at everyone’s favorite prospect, Jesus Montero. In that article, I used information/got inspiration from a FanGraphs article, showing what Jesus Montero would be worth to the Yankees per year for his cost controlled years if he spent all his time at DH. The result was about a three win player, which is very nice for a cost controlled guy.
Of course, though, Jesus is determined to stick at catcher. So today, I’m going to be a bit more rosy and bullish in my projections of Jesus than I was in my previous article. I will adjust the calculations to assume a two different playing time scenarios:
1. Full time catcher (~120 games).
2. Split catcher/1B/DH (think Victor Martinez).
For defense, which Smith alludes to in the comments, I’ll assume two things as well:
1. He’s at best a zero run backstop.
2. He’s a Mike Piazza/Jorge Posada type back there, so we’ll call it, as Smith does -10 or so (it will be fewer negative runs for playing time scenario #2.
For offense, I’m going to the .379 wOBA across 650 PAs I laid out in my first post.
For the most positive of scenarios, we’ll run situation one: a full time, zero run catcher. After catching 120 games, His positional adjustment would be 8.2 per Smith. So, running our WAR calculation, we get 5.10 WAR. Now, that’s assuming that he’s a zero run defender behind the plate, which isn’t likely to happen. Adjusting for a -10 run defense, we get 4.14 WAR, still a good mark. In fact, that mark would’ve made him the third most valuable catcher in the AL, behind Joe Mauer (8.1) and Victor Martinez (who played 85 games at catcher; 4.9 WAR).
Speaking of Martinez, let’s say he does something like Victor did in 2009–85 games catching, 70 games at first base. Using Martinez’s position adjustment of 0.6, Montero would produce (assuming 0 runs at first and -7 behind the plate) 3.71 WAR. Of course, Jesus could always be better at first base. Like Smith does, we’ll call Jesus +2.5 at first. Adding that to our -7 catching, we get -4.5 runs defensively. Running that scenario, we get 4.30 WAR, which actually makes him more valuable than a full time, bad defensive catcher.
Again, I’ll reiterate, these are in no way “crystal ball” calculations. I’m just having a little fun here, seeing what Montero could be worth. Like all prospects, he could either wildly under-perform these calculations or he could out-perform them. Being fair, I think he’ll probably never be all that great in the field but he could definitely hit for something better than a .379 wOBA. Either way, I’m damn excited to follow Jesus for another season and I hope we can see him in the Bronx in September. Best of luck in 2010 to El Carpentiero.
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