I was quietly apprehensive when Jesus Montero made his late season professional debut with the Yankees in 2011. Yankee fans everywhere know the hype that surrounds Montero’s bat, but the Yankee organization itself hadn’t shown much faith in its top prospect. Montero had failed to break spring training with the team, and the Yankees had tried to trade him for Ace starting pitchers each of the past two seasons. My concern was that Montero would be a dud in his debut, further eroding the team’s perception of his usefulness while harming his once considerable trade value.
Instead, my fears proved unfounded. Over 18 games and 69 plate appearances Montero raked to a .421 wOBA. If anything, Montero increased his trade value, removing any doubt that his bat can step into a lineup and contribute immediately (he will not, however, be a .421 wOBA hitter for a full season). Unfortunately, it remains unclear how the Yankees intend to use their budding young star.
RAB’s Mike Axisa worded the conundrum perfectly when he reported that Montero was the fifth highest ranked International League prospect. “Montero’s bat is big league ready,” Axisa wrote, “but the Yankees will have to come up with a way to get him in the lineup for 600+ at-bats next year.” The Yankees have consistently faced this problem with Montero. The team doesn’t believe he can get the job done at Catcher, but it also can’t place Montero at DH because the Yankees intend to use that slot to give rest to aging position players Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Montero is a potential impact bat without a home.
If that is the Yankee position, then it is a series of excuses in search of a problem. Alex Rodriguez had a .361 wOBA in 2011, while Derek Jeter had a .332 wOBA. Andruw Jones and Jorge Posada, the two players the Yankees gave the most at-bats at DH, platooned a .371 wOBA against lefties for Jones and a .353 wOBA against righties for Jorge. Montero will not be as hot over the entire 2012 season as he was in September of 2011, but right now he projects to be a better option at DH than any other player the Yankees may put in that spot, both against lefties, whom he pummeled with a .506 wOBA and righties, whom he beat up to a .367 wOBA.
Two factors play against Montero. The first is the Yankees’ organizational bias against young players. Apart from a select group of pitching prospects such as Phil Hughes or Manny Banuelos, the team gives the impression that all its other prospects have to jump through hoops (that have been set on fire) to break into the team’s cadre of regular players. The second factor playing against Montero is the team’s incorrect belief that it can’t put him anywhere. Unfortunately he may not be athletic enough to play Catcher in the big leagues, but why should that prevent him from being the team’s everyday DH? If Montero looks to be the Yankees’ best option at DH, then the team should play him at DH and be done with it.
For the past two seasons the Yankee offense has been uneven, and prone to painful slumps as a result of this. The recent ALDS was a classic example. The Yankees scored a combined 19 runs in the two games they won, but only nine runs in the three games they lost. The average production is great, but the distribution is not. While the Yankees’ primary need remains starting pitching, the team also needs another offensive catalyst. Right now Montero is a low-cost, high-upside candidate to be that catalyst. There is no down side to giving him the everyday DH’s job, against lefties and righties to maximize his development. If he succeeds the Yankees have another solid bat to bludgeon pitchers while increasing his trade value, if that is his future. If he fails, an increasingly unlikely prospect, he’s young enough for the damage to be limited. What doesn’t make sense is blocking his promotion to give DH at-bats to the team’s aging players. If Montero is a better option at DH, he should be played at DH. If A-Rod or The Captain need half a day off, then they just as easily need a full day off and should be given that instead. Either way, the Yankees need to end their ambivalence toward Montero, now that it is clear that this ambivalence is harming the team.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
- related web site on The Great Subway Race
- get your lover back on Contact Us
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees