Former Texas Rangers scout Frankie Piliere has an insightful — though not particularly groundbreaking — column up at MLB Fanhouse on the healthy state of the Yankee farm system and why Yankee fans should be optimistic if the team plays its cards right.
Quoth Piliere (emphasis mine):
“First and foremost, there is the catching situation for the Yankees. Jesus Montero is clearly one of baseball’s elite prospects and arguably the best hitter in the minor leagues. Barring a disastrous spring training, he’s also proven himself ready to take his hacks in the major leagues. Despite recurring reports of his defensive problems, Montero is at a stage where he can handle himself as a big-league catcher.
The bottom line is that there is a big difference between having defensive deficiencies and not being able to play the position at all. Montero is ready to play catcher in 2011, and the more I’ve seen from him, the more confident I’ve become of that fact. He’ll have his moments that frustrate you back there, but there are no deficiencies that are glaring enough to warrant moving him off the position. His potential to hit 35 home runs a year should more than make up for that.”
I think we’d have to classify that as rather encouraging news. There have been seemingly hundreds of conflicting reports regarding whether Montero can adequately handle catcher at the Major League level, and while we won’t have any idea whether he’ll be able to stick behind the dish long term until he actually starts playing, it’s reassuring to know that at least one scout feels confident in Montero’s abilities as a catcher at the present time. Also, 35 home runs? Yes, please.
Piliere also goes on to discuss the Yankees’ plethora of internal pitching options — you can’t read an article these days about New York minor leaguers that doesn’t include Manuel Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman — but doesn’t really go out on a limb or make any suggestions/recommendations that any of those three will be able to help at a specific point in time, just that the opportunities are there.
Photo c/o of The New York Daily News
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