Jesus, Montero’s on fire


Two years ago today on DotF, Mitch Hilligoss set a new South Atlantic League record by picking up a hit in his 36th consecutive games. At the time, it was the longest hitting streak in the minors in 17 years.

Jon Ortiz, struggling big time as High-A Tampa’s closer, has been demoted to Low-A Charleston. Alan Horne threw a simulated game today, and it went horribly.

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 win over Louisville)
Reegie Corona, Juan Miranda, John Rodriguez & Justin Leone: all 1 for 4 – Corona scored a run & swiped a bag … Miranda K’ed … J-Rod hit a solo jimmy jack
Austin Jackson: 2 for 3, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB – hitting .353 in 45 games
Todd Linden: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K - homered off an old pal
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 K – leads the league with 18 homers, the guy in second has 11
Eric Duncan: 0 for 4
Chris Stewart: 0 for 3, 1 K
Romulo Sanchez: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 4-1 GB/FB – 26 of 43 pitches were strikes (60.5%) … given all of the quality relievers that need innings on this roster, it’s not the worst thing in the world to have a bullpen game every five days
Zack Kroenke: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2-1 GB/FB – 23 of 42 pitches were strikes (54.8%)
Jose Valdez: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2-1 GB/FB – 18 of 29 pitches were strikes (62.1%)
Anthony Claggett: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 5-3 GB/FB – 22 of 39 pitches were strikes (56.4%)

Double-A Trenton (4-3 win over Altoona, walk-off style)
Justin Snyder: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – walk-off solo shot
Colin Curtis: 0 for 2, 1 R, 2 BB
Chris Malec & Noah Hall: both 1 for 4 - Malec scored a run & committed a fielding error … Hall doubled, drove in two & swiped a bag
Jorge Vazquez & Kyle Anson: both 0 for 4 - Vazquez K’ed twice
Edwar Gonzalez: 2 for 4, 1 2B
Marcos Vechionacci & James Cooper: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB
Chris Garcia: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 7-4 GB/FB – kept right up with the 4th overall pick from 2007
Wilkins Arias: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3-1 GB/FB
Kevin Whelan: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2-1 GB/FB

High-A Tampa (8-5 loss to Charlotte)
Austin Krum: 0 for 2, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP
Eric Fryer: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 CS
Jesus Montero: 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI – 13 for his last 24 (.542) with 4 doubled & 3 homers … I have no idea how far his hit streak goes back, but it’s at least 10 games now … he did allow three five stolen bases though
Austin Romine: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Brandon Laird, Brian Baisley & Walt Ibarra: all 0 for 4 – Laird & Baisley each K’ed three times
Damon Sublett: 0 for 2, 1 BB, 1 E (fielding)
Wady Rufino: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
Sergio Mitre: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 5-4 GB/FB, 2 E (throwing) – season debut … he’s rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and is also serving a 50-game PED suspension
Craig Heyer: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 3-4 GB/FB, 1 E (throwing)
Grant Duff: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 5-0 GB/FB
Adam Olbrychowski: 1 IP, zeroes, 3-0 GB/FB

Low-A Charleston (3-1 loss to Greenville) they were supposed to face John Smoltz today, but for some reason he didn’t pitch
Abe Almonte, Dan Brewer & Jose Pirela: all 1 for 4 – Almonte stole two bases … Brewer K’ed once, Pirela twice
David Adams, Taylor Grote, Mike Lyon & Chase Weems: all 0 for 3 – Adams K’ed once, Grote & Weems each K’ed twice … Grote drew a walk & threw a runner out at second from LF
Melky Mesa: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 SB
Corban Joseph: 1 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
David Phelps: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HB, 10-2 GB/FB – 46-10 K/BB ratio in 58.1 IP
Cory Arbiso: 2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2-1 GB/FB

Categories : Down on the Farm


  1. J.R. says:

    Montero called up soon? Or just sit him in high A for the rest of the season to focus on catching?

  2. Blackdragon905 says:

    Montero needs to be promoted. Who cares that he is only 20. If he has earned the promotion than you give it and he has certainly earned it and then some. The kid is an absolute monster!

  3. Accent Shallow says:

    Is Hilligoss still on the radar? He’s hit ok so far this year.

    As for Trenton, I’d rather have Garcia in the system than Moskos. At least Garcia can get outs.

  4. Doug says:

    Mike, looks like 5 SBs against for the man-child

    • Mike Axisa says:

      You’re right, my bad. Missed those two by Salem. Fixed, thanks.

      • Doug says:

        Any time.

        Sorry, I know I keep harping on this, but when does 5 bags against (and 3+ almost every game) become enough of a concern that you consider moving him.

        • steve (different one) says:


          • Doug says:

            so you try to “make” him into a catcher for 2 more years?

            • Jack says:

              Why not?

            • steve (different one) says:

              what’s the rush to move him? where are you moving him to?

              • Doug says:

                as i have yet to see any non-yankee scout say that he’s going to be able to stay behind the plate, i’d see if he could play a corner OF spot. and if he can, you might see his bat in the bronx a year sooner

                • whozat says:

                  How many scouts do you actually talk to?

                  The point is that it’s really, really not important to get this settled right now unless you’re an impatient fan. You can always move him to a corner OF later. He’s NINETEEN. There is no need to get him to AA this year, even. We read box scores, and maybe a couple quotes from scouts in articles that are designed to grab internet traffic — meaning that they WANT to say things that are controversial. Based on that, you’ve decided that he’ll never be a catcher, so you want to destroy most of his value so that you can feel like the positional question is settled. Why? He’s destroying the ball. Clearly, working on his catching isn’t impacting his ability to hit. There’s no downside at all to continuing to work him at catcher. At all.

                • Drew says:

                  Problem solved. Move him to teh Eighth!!1!!1

                • Doug says:

                  never said i’d move him now. just wondered when you DO consider it

                • whozat says:

                  When he’s ceasing to improve defensively (something that we can’t gauge by watching box scores) and it starts setting back his development.

                  And no, keeping him from hitting AA at 19 is NOT setting him back.

            • whozat says:

              What does it cost? NOTHING! The potential upside is huge and it’s costing nothing. At all.

              Why WOULDN’T you do it?

              Also, frankly, most bases are stolen on the pitcher anyway. And steals don’t really matter all that much anyway in the long haul. And it’s also one of the most easily improved parts of a catcher’s game.

            • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

              Any status on TSJC’s burrito?

    • Matt M. says:

      ewwthat wasfive…hopefully thats some of mitre being rusty from TJ.

      montero is allowing a lot of SBs however

    • dane bramage says:

      Jesus ‘Man Child’ Montero. I like it.

  5. Dorian says:

    I will offer up a situation to you folks:

    ALCS, Red Sox, Papelbon, bottom of the 9th, 2 outs.

    You are down 3 runs with the bags juiced.

    Swisher or Montero. Who ya got?

  6. The Artist says:

    Nice to see Romine get it going as well as Monstero.


  7. Mike R. - Retire 21 says:

    If Montero and A-Jax keep this up until the end of the season. What are the chances they are both in BA’s top 10 prospects list come 2010?

  8. The Artist says:

    I don’t like all this talk about promoting Montero to AA.

    It might stunt the development of Kyle Anson and Jose Gil.

  9. Bryan says:

    Mike, are you worried about Montero’s lack of ability to throw runners out? Is it arm strength or just inexperience behind the plate?

  10. VO says:

    Mike, I’m pretty sure it actually stands at 10 games.

  11. Drew says:

    When I leave my house in the morning, I wander (literally, I wander around) what would Jesus do. I credit him with all of my success.

  12. Andy Stankiewicz says:

    Does anyone have a scouting report on Montero’s defense? Arm strength? Potential DH?

    • Giuseppe Franco says:

      I sure hope he’s not going to be a DH.

      I would imagine they will stick with him at catcher for a few more years until they are absolutely sure he can’t do the job.

      They can’t have a 22-23 yr old DH when they’re gonna have two guys in their late 30s (A-Rod and Jeter) in the everyday lineup.

  13. RollingWave says:

    Quietly , Whelan’s having his best season since we gotten him, maybe he’s figured out his control at least a little ?

  14. Giuseppe Franco says:

    They need to promote either Montero or Romine because they both need to catch everyday instead of splitting time as they have for awhile.

    Montero is going to mash wherever he plays, but he needs to really concentrate and continue to improve his defense to become a complete player at such an enormously valuable position.

    I hope they have good catching instructors.

    • The Artist says:

      Tony Pena’s about as good as there is.

      • Giuseppe Franco says:

        Yes, that’s true – but he’s not going to help them much during the regular season.

        I was referring to catching instructors who can help the kids on the farm.

        Montero and Romine have to wait until the offseason or next spring to get Pena’s help.

  15. Tom Zig says:

    So Mitre’s suspension is over now? How long do we have him under contract?

  16. John says:

    So Shelley had 5 RBI’s but we won 3-1?

  17. Rod says:

    Is this season a make or break year for Montero at catcher? In addition to his defense being suspect, his splits when he DHs versus catches is enormous. He is normally a downright pedestrian hitter when he is also behind the plate.

    Does anyone know if he would be athletic enough to turn into a left fielder?

    • whozat says:

      Since when are left fielders particularly athletic?

      He’s nineteen and in hi-a. This season isn’t make-or-break in any way for him at all.

      • Rod says:

        Well, I would put Jose Molina out in LF but he is an acceptable back up catcher.

        The reason I mention make or break is that almost more worrying than his defense, Montero has a 0.713 OPS when he catches versus 1.267 when he DH’s. If that holds up over the course of the season then you might want to look at other places to put him in order to get max offensive production out of him.

        • Rod says:

          I mean wouldn’t put Molina out in LF.

        • Stuckey says:

          I’m not really worried about the OPS thing, because I can’t think of an baseball explanation for it.

          Does he get instantly tired by squatting and it slows down his bat?

          Likely a mix of coincidence and mental focus/carrying defense to the plate, the latter of which can be easily explained by the word “19″.

    • steve (different one) says:

      Posada STARTED catching at 20.

      don’t see how this is a “make or break” season.

  18. donttradecano says:

    I dont see how Montero cant develop his catching more at AA? Would it really make that much of a difference

  19. Stryker says:

    ok – i get all this talk about montero, but how is nobody talking about alan horne? when is enough enough with this guy? he has fallen not-so-gracefully from on the cusp of breaking with the majors to barely cracking a top 30 prospect list.

    • V says:

      What is there to talk about? He sucks.

      Until he proves otherwise, he’s done as a potential major-leaguer, and not worth talking about.

    • whozat says:

      Yeah, why is it that we need to be talking about him?

      “enough is enough”? What’s with the punitive tone that people take when talking about prospects? Are you like…angry that he hasn’t put it together, and want him released for some reason?

  20. Jamal G. says:

    Hey, people, Victor Martinez is still a Major League catcher. There probably is not a worse defensive backstop in the Major Leagues than him, yet he still plays there because he can fucking rake and he’s not murdering his team on defense. Stop worrying about Jesus Montero’s defense.

  21. V says:


    Also, Victor is 30 years old, and it took him THAT long to be a decent catcher.

    Montero’s 19.

    • V says:

      Reply button fail.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Montero has the look of a DH that can anchor a lineup. His special bat should take precedence before catching. BA writer Ben Badler has already gone on the record saying that BA didn’t consider Montero a catcher in ranking him #1 on the hot prospect list, and that Montero is still a top 20 prospect even if he got moved from catcher.

      Its looking like Montero’s improving offensive game will make him a ML ready WAY before his defensive game gets acceptable.

      • Chip says:

        That’s funny, he has the look of a catcher who can anchor a lineup. His catching isn’t stopping his catching. And the fact that he’s a number one prospect with his bat alone means he has hall of fame potential as an overall prospect. The kid has like 4 years to work on his transfer and learn to be an adequate defensive catcher

  22. Ray says:

    Trenton actually won 5-3. I was at the game and it was a 2-run walk off HR to right center.

  23. josh says:

    can somebody explain why he cant learn and improve defensively at AA while chalenging his bat some more.

  24. josh says:

    lost in this is how good a season romine is having. if he is as good a defensive catcher as the scouting report says montero wont be the yankees catcher anyway. why not play him at rf or lf when he doesnt catch instead of dh. would that be to much for him to learn at once, probably, right?

    • Stuckey says:

      Not sure it plays to hedge your bet with a 19 year old. If the reasoning is Romine is going to be the catcher anyway, Montero is going to be hip to that too.

      And Romine isn’t having THAT good a year. Still has NO plate discipline and is slugging is nothing to be write home about, though it’s much improved of late.

      Anyway, NOTHING is a sure thing at that age/level. It’s sort of like drafting the best player available. You don’t worry about blg league line-ups conflicts for single A prospects.

      • josh says:

        you r right that romine is not having a great year but he seems to be having a good one. if he is really that good as a defensive catcher than i would rather have him there batting 280 with 15 hrs and lots of doubles for 130-140 games and montero at rf hitting 320 with 40 hrs playing every game. i know this is all so far away in years and so much can change but it is fun to try and project. btw i have no idea how good a defensive catcher romine really is. does anyone know how he is as a defensive catcher since the scouting report has been written

        • Chip says:

          So you’re assuming that Romine keeps hitting like this all through his prospect years and doesn’t get injured? I mean look at Eric Duncan and how can’t-miss he was and Romine has nowhere near the production that Duncan had at that level.

          If Montero and Romine both turn out (unlikely), then it’s a great problem to have. In that case, you trade Romine to fill a position of need OR you let them take turns in the big leagues. Who knows, maybe Romine could play left field, right field or third base on days that Montero doesn’t catch. There’s a long ways to go before we even think about these things.

          Using your logic, we shouldn’t draft a catcher no matter how good he is because we already have catcher set for the next 15 years.

  25. Dorian says:

    Food for thought.

    Russell Martin threw out 19 percent of his baserunners at the age of 20.

    There is no reason to move Montero off the position as of right now. Let him prove that after everything has been done to improve his defense, that he just can’t catch. He is 19 and there is a lot of time for him to improve.

    Also, I do not think that this keeps him from moving up. The idea is to challenge him. More and more it is starting to look like Tampa is not a challenge. The guy is a hitting machine. Whether or not he sticks at catcher doesn’t really affect his value because of his special bat.


    • josh says:

      i agree totally. put him at AA – teach him to catch there by starting more games and challenging his bat. seems like a win win to me

  26. dan says:

    Moskos…. what a shitty pick.

  27. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Mike, you forgot to talk about Melvin’s failure yesterday. He pitched 1 inning, struck out 2 but gave up a single.
    I think I’m going to be sick. If he only averages 18k/9 this year, the season will be considered a total failure.

  28. Mike HC says:

    Austin Jackson really seems to be hitting well. As he is our number one position player prospect, and seemingly relatively close to being called up to the big league club, I would love to see a RAB post breaking this guy down. His hitting, defense, base running etc … Maybe I am peaking a little too early since it is relatively early in the year and Melky/Gardner have been playing pretty well. Either way, I love the work you guys are doing here. This is the first year I am following the Yanks through RAB and it has really enhanced the whole Yankee fan experience for me this year. Keep up the great work guys.

    • TJ says:

      Agreed, RAB is a great source, I thought it might be a homer site, but it’s not. A Jax should be called up with those numbers, he’s earned a taste. Why hold him in AAA? Too cautious. It’s baseball not life or death.

      • El Generalissimo says:

        His K rate is way too high, and even though Im optimistic his power will be the last thing to develop… 0 HRs is still unfortunate. But, he does lead the league in triples and 3rd in doubles.

        Anyway, you dont bring him up now to sit on the bench, which is what he would do. Melky is ready Monday to play fully again and Gardner is hot. Swisher and Damon are playing everyday and Nady is back in 2 weeks.

        Plus, you’d have to make a 40 man move now, instead of sept or the offseason. If all goes to plan he will be a september call up this year.

  29. Brandon says:

    Since Ortiz was demoted to Charleston, Venditte better be promoted to Tampa. He dominated the New York-Penn League and is dominating Low A ball. Let him begin to dominate High A ball, and work his way up to dominating the bigs.

    Hmm, Veditte is 24 or turning 24 soon, correct? Could the Yankees be grooming him to be Mo’s successor? Or is it Melancon’s job to lose?

    Also, I think the Yankees should let Romine catch already, and use Montero as a DH/1st baseman. He is not throwing guys out, and will probably have to switch positions anyway, as he is expected to out grow the catching position.

    As for A-Jax, I may be the only one here that feels this way, but I would give him a full year in Scranton. He is doing very, very, very good, but lets face it, right now, he would be sitting on the bench twiddling his thumbs. I mean, Gardner is doing very good now, and Melky was doing very good before he got hurt.

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