Jesus Montero has become a household name among Yankee fans who follow the minors. He’s 19 and utterly mashing at AA. On Sunday, he hit his fourth home run in his last nine games, and on the AA year, he is hitting .306/.363/.529.
The Trenton numbers, though, represent just half of Montero’s season. Looking at both his Tampa and Trenton numbers, the kid is an utter beast. He is hitting .332/.386/.558 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs. He is now one of the game’s best prospects — number three overall, according to a recent Baseball America update — and the Yanks’ clear number one prospect. He could be up in the Bronx by mid-2010 but will probably not arrive until 2011.
He wasn’t always this well-respected. A 2006 Baseball America column by John Manuel cast some doubt on Montero’s future. Wrote the prospect expert:
The Yankees reportedly gave another international player $2 million this year, but reports on Jesus Montero have not been good ever since the Yankees signed him for that amount in July. Montero has been dogged by rumors that he fudged his age or worse, and sources had indicated for weeks that his contract was under review by the commissioner’s office at the Yankees’ request.
Newman confirmed that the Yankees and Montero, a Venezuelan catcher with prodigious power potential, had “long, involved” negotiations. He would not comment on the value of Montero’s signing bonus, but said one source’s information–that Montero’s bonus had been restructured to $1.3 million–was not correct. His only on the record comment was that “there is no age issue” with Montero, who struggled in the Yankees’ fall mini-camp.
Those “not good” reports have since vanished into thin air. Everyone loves Jesus Montero, and he has emerged as one of the Yankees’ “untouchable” prospects. What the future holds for Montero no one really knows. It’s always amusing though to relive the past. Once upon a time, BA wasn’t sure about Jesus. Now, he’s one of the game’s most heralded young hitters. Funny how that works.