24-Year-Old Catcher – Seattle Mariners
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Montero's career isn't so much at a crossroads as it's approaching a dead end. After failing at the plate and behind it, Montero was sent to Triple-A Tacoma in late May last season as the Mariners fin...
Montero was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday, MLB.com reports.
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Jesus Montero: MLB Games Played By Position
Jesus Montero Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Seattle Mariners Roster
MajorsAckley, Dustin (2B)
AAAArias, Jonathan (P)
AACarroll, Dan (OF)
A+Blash, Jabari (OF)
AAustin, Jamal (OF)
RookieBurgess, Jarrett (OF)
Career Batter vs. Pitcher Stats (View All Matchup Data)
Best Matchups for Jesus Montero (by OPS, min 2 AB)
Worst Matchups for Jesus Montero (by OPS, min 2 AB)
Jesus Montero: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Montero's final 2012 numbers didn't knock anyone's socks off, but he held his own for the most part as a rookie. He had two primary liabilities at the plate: he struggled against right-handed pitchers (.609 OPS) and he struggled at home (.605 OPS). The latter problem could be taken care of by moving in the Safeco Field fences this year as many of his left-center drives should now fly away, or at least not turn into warning-track outs. The former problem is another story. Montero could not lay off the low-and-away junk righties offered last season, chasing way too often out of the zone. Until he fixes that issue, right-handed pitchers will continue to give him trouble. Defensively, his future appears to lies at DH rather than catcher, but the Mariners apparently are going to give him every opportunity to prove himself behind the plate. Backup John Jason was dealt to Oakland in January, and the Mariners have a glut of DH types, which seemingly cements Montero as the No. 1 catcher, barring a major offseason move. Prospect Mike Zunino is knocking on the door, but he won't take too many at-bats away from Montero even if he makes the team.
Montero was the Yankees' top prospect, and after a highly successful late-season trial in New York, he was set to slot as the everyday DH and backup catcher in 2012. However, he was traded to Seattle and now will likely see everyday duty at DH and/or catcher. Montero has great bat speed and excellent strength and could develop into a 25-plus home-run threat and .300 hitter. Behind the plate, he continues to work on his defense, but he's still well below average and it remains to be seen if he will be a full-time catcher down the road. Montero may need to make some adjustments as he settles into full-time major league duty, but the raw power and hitting ability are for real, and he's one of the early favorites for the American League Rookie of the Year honors. His value increases exponentially as long as he plays enough behind the plate to continue to qualify at catcher.
With Jorge Posada expected to shift primarily to designated hitter this season, the Yankees are beginning to clear out the catcher position for their young prospects. Offensively, there isn't much doubt that Montero is ready to make the jump (.870 OPS at Triple-A), but his below-average skills behind the plate have scouts questioning his ability to catch at the major league level. To delay the transition, Russell Martin was signed to a one-year deal in December, but Montero is the Yankees' future behind the plate. His bat should play anywhere if his defense never comes around, but the Yankees don't seem to be ready to give up on him as a catcher just yet.
Montero’s 2009 season came to an unfortunate early end at the beginning of August when he fractured a finger on his left hand. He missed the final month of the season but was nothing short of dominant in the time he did have, hitting .337/.389/.562 with 17 homers and 70 RBI between High-A and Double-A. Although his bat is more than ready for the Triple-A level, defense remains a major weakness, to the point that he may need to move to first base or even left field eventually. He only turned 20 years old in November, so look for him to start at Double-A before a quick promotion to Triple-A and maybe even the majors at some point during the year. In the offseason his name was also popping up frequently in trade rumors, though it would be a painful move for the Yankees to part with arguably one of their best hitting prospects since Derek Jeter.
Bursting onto the scene as an 18-year-old at Low-A Charleston, Montero quickly established himself as one of the Yankees' top prospects with an excellent campaign in the South Atlantic League. At 6'4" and 225 pounds, he may eventually have to move to a corner outfield spot or first base if he's unable to handle the defensive responsibilities of catching as he moves through the system, but he is improving defensively. Regardless of what position he plays, a .326/.376/.491 line with 17 homers and 34 doubles says plenty about his bat. He makes a lot of contact, somewhat offsetting the fact that he could benefit from drawing more walks, but Montero appears to have a very bright future ahead of him, even if he won't see the big leagues until late 2010 or 2011.