Keith Law held his weekly chat this Thursday, and had some nice things to say about Jesus Montero:
Q: Which current hitter would you compare Jesus Montero to? If he goes to a different team any chance he stays behind the plate?
Klaw: Physically and in his swing, he reminds me of Frank Thomas. And I know that’s an insane comp to put on a guy, but I don’t think that’s out of the question as an optimistic long-term projection.
Now, KLaw was talking about his swing, so I doubt he was suggesting that Montero would replicate Frank’s otherworldly OBP skills. That said, if Frank Thomas is not out of the question as a projection for Jesus, I think the Yankees could find a way to get him at-bats regardless of position. As I have stated since Montero established himself as an elite hitting prospect, trading him is a bad idea.
Q: KLAW, Yankee prospects to keep an eye on besides Montero. Thanks.
Klaw: Most exciting guys are Betances, Brackman (I don’t want to say he’s back … but he might be), and Heathcott. JR Murphy’s a long-term guy, but with Romine’s hot start fading out I think some hype might shift over to him as the Yanks’ potential C of the future.
Q: Re: Yanks to keep an eye on. How about Gary Sanchez?
Klaw: Yes, thanks, forgot him. That’s a pretty good line of catching prospects – even if Romine’s just a fringe starter, that’s three catchers who project as that or better in their system.
Q: Brackman had a BB9 over 6 last year, this year it’s in the mid-2s, is that normal recovery from TJS? Or did he improve mechanics?
Klaw: Command is the last thing to come back.
Regarding Romine, his fade does not concern me, as he is likely experiencing the effects of his first full season of catching. He had previously been splitting catching duties with Montero, but with Jesus at AAA he had the job all to his lonesome. Additionally, the ballpark in Trenton is a notorious pitcher’s park, and Romine has significantly better numbers on the road. I have a feeling his second half fade will be long forgotten by May or June of next season.
As for the Yankees catching depth, it is amazing that most of their legit non-pitching prospects are backstops. It is also important to note that Murphy is athletic enough to play elsewhere and Sanchez may be as well, so on the off chance that all of these guys are not traded AND turn into everyday MLB players, the team will have the ability to move those who are blocked to other positions.
Finally, the buzz around Brackman continues to build, and it looks like he has recovered much of his prospect status. I would not be surprised to see him make a number of top 100 prospects lists, along with Montero, Romine, and Sanchez, with Betances possibly sneaking onto a few as well. This really has been a strong bounce-back year for the Yankee farm system.
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