How good is Jesus Montero?

RAB on the radio
Time for A-Rod to turn around playoff slump

I’ll give you a hint: very good. EJ Fagan at TYU took a look at the Yanks’ best prospect, particularly how his defense has progressed and how his 2009 offensive season shook out, determining that yeah, Mr. Montero is pretty freakin’ special. I’ll say this, the kid is legimately the best position player prospect the Yanks have had since Derek Jeter in the early-to-mid 1990’s. Get excited, people.

email
RAB on the radio
Time for A-Rod to turn around playoff slump
  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    Frank Thomas or Mike Piazza?

    In other words, we all think he’s going to hit, so is athletic enough to stick at Catcher?

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.baby-bombers.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/melky-cabrera-317x400.jpg Drew

    Jesus Montero

    Coincidence? I think not.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      +40, 1 for the number of championships the Yanks will have by the end of his career.

    • The Evil Empire

      IETC!

  • Charlie
  • http://www.twitter.com/MatthewHarris84 Matt H. :: Sec105

    So does this mean the Yanks won’t go after Joe Mauer?

    • DreDog

      Of course they’ll get him. It’ll be the most expensive DH signing in history.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      I think Mauer stays put.

      • Klemy

        Agreed.

  • Mike in Fla.

    He is the real deal. Yankees have tremendous prospects at catcher. Jesus will make an impact by the middle of 2010 as a DH and part time catcher.

  • Lanny

    Best position prospect since Jeter? I mean beating out Ricky Ledee and Shane Spencer and Eric Duncan and Nick Johnson is tough work. But in all seriousness wouldnt you have to put Cano in that class at this point? Not like hes a middle infielder hitting 300 with power and supplying GG caliber defense.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten
      • Charlie

        yea, that about does it. UZR is a pretty shitty stat. it seems like the only thing it might be useful for is outfielders

      • http://www.twitter.com/MatthewHarris84 Matt H. :: Sec105

        that graphic also puts Tex as a below avg (not by much, so average) fielder?

        Shows you how useful that stat is for infielders.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          UZR is an incomplete stat for everyone, but you could argue it’s most incomplete for 1B.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Also, just because a stat doesn’t go with your notions doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

          • pete

            the graph says that tex has below average (slightly) range for a 1B. As in, he gets to fewer balls than the average 1B. I don’t see how people are misunderstanding/arguing with that.

            UZR is not a tell-all defensive stat. Its significance varies for each position, and it tells something at each, and everything at none. Most would probably say that UZR is most useful for gauging SS/2B/3B/CF/LF, and is pretty useful for RF, although it ignores throwing (I believe), which is very important for RFers. It tells about half the story at 1B, as it ignores scooping and throwing ability, and tells close to nothing for C.

            Saying that UZR doesn’t show the whole picture or that it doesn’t accurately represent defensive talent/ability is one thing. Arguing that it is, as a metric for defensive efficiency, useless, is ridiculous.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              and tells close to nothing for C.

              Is there even UZR for catchers?

        • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          “that graphic also puts Tex as a below avg (not by much, so average) fielder?”

          Like Matt said, UZR is probably not the best stat by which to judge first basemen… But it’s also important to realize that UZR is not a metric that intends tells us how good a fielder a player is, only how good their range is. UZR is only a component in analyzing how good a fielder is. Just because Tex, for example, is a good fielder but doesn’t look so good in UZR, doesn’t mean UZR is an invalid metric.

          • JMK aka The Overshare

            So, quick question: If it only measures how good their range is, how is it possible Ellsbury rates so poorly? The guy has great speed, so he should be able to at least get to the ball. Is it that he takes poor routes, misreads the ball or dives to things he shouldn’t that plummet his UZR numbers?

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              It probably has a lot to do with the fact that he seems to take poor routes to the ball because he misjudges fly balls.

            • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              With regard to Ellsbury, I’d imagine it’s a combination of all those things, but I’m no expert.

              I actually might have misrepresented UZR a bit, unintentionally. I measures how many plays a fielder makes within certain zones, so it’s not just a measure of range, per se. But it is just a component to be considered when analyzing a player’s defensive ability/worth, as opposed to some magic be-all end-all metric. I made my comment just because we tend to see the “but Player X is a good fielder and UZR says he’s not, so I think UZR is worthless” argument pretty often, and I think in order to make that argument you kind of have to misunderstand what UZR actually measures.

            • pete

              Cano is pretty fast and has something like a 30% SB success rate. My guess is that his eyes suck

              • handtius

                I always wondered that. He seems fast, I think he just doesn’t get up to speed fast enough. He needs to work with Jeter in the off-season. get some extra lateral range.

      • http://www.twitter.com/MatthewHarris84 Matt H. :: Sec105

        Also, it makes me wonder how in the world Swish got a plus rating, he’s looked clueless out there at points.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Except he has very good range. Looking clueless =/= bad fielder. The “I see it with my eyes” argument is particularly spurious when it comes to outfield defense.

        • pete

          swish is a decently fast outfielder who reads the ball well off the bat and plays half his games in the tininess of YS right field. And UZR puts him at a bit above average in terms of balls in zone turned into outs vs. league avg. How is that surprising?

          Cano has been acceptable at 2B this year, no doubt, and can make a couple plays (behind 2b, double play) better than just about anybody else at his position. But if you were to watch every single 2B you’d realize that per average, cano’s a noticeably, if not detrimentally, below average fielder. His arm gives him tremendous range on slowly hit balls, so he makes plays that you don’t see other second basemen make. But his diving ability/ability to come up w/ the ball on a dive, especially to his right, is pretty weak when compared to some of the quicker, more athletic 2B. Believe me, if you play Ramiro Pena at 2B for 162 games, you’d see him make quite a few more plays than cano.

          Of course cano is also a .320/.352/.520 hitter with 25 HRs. So i’ll take the -5 UZR/150.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Cano’s just inconsistent defensively. Even just by watching him and not paying attention to UZR and what not, you can see that there are some weeks in which he’s absolutely incredible in the field and then some weeks in which he’s dogshit.

            • JMK aka The Overshare

              Eh, I’d side with pete on this one. He’s inconsistent, sure—but his biggest problems stem from going to his right. No matter how well or poorly his streaky periods are, that doesn’t change. His arm is his biggest asset. He makes throws I can’t imagine any other 2B in MLB can make. Then again, going to his right, I’d guess that he has less range than most starting 2B. I’d argue the latter happens more than the brilliant plays he makes.

              Data? Statistics? I don’t need it. I WATCH THE GAMES!

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                I think he moves to his right well but it’s his left that gives him trouble. His arm is absolutely great and I think he could play on the left side if he wanted to.

                • JMK aka The Overshare

                  Hmm…again, I have no data, I just remember Cano seeming more comfortable with balls hit to his left. I watch the games and see a lot of balls up the middle and he’s always so close, but doesn’t get to balls I think many would grab. There must be some sort of stat that can accurately show the actual spot of the ball the player missed (and conversely, made).

                  Know of anything that might help?

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  I’m just thinking of the play up the middle with the strong-armed wrist-flick throw.

                • JMK aka The Overshare

                  He pulls that off quite well, yes. Still, how often do we see that? Someday I hope we have strong, accurate metrics for defense.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  I think that’s what they’re hoping for in the fledgling hit f/x department.

                • pete

                  “Iā€™m just thinking of the play up the middle with the strong-armed wrist-flick throw.”
                  exactly.
                  watch the balls hit on those plays and his positioning at the start of them. most of the time, the only impressive thing about that play is that he actually gets the out.

                  But how often do you see a hard smash up the middle or in the hole that cano makes a diving grab on? it happens, but a lot less. and probably a good deal less than it does for the 2Bs with positive UZRs

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Word, I could get on board with that.

          • JMK aka The Overshare

            +24 to all of this.

          • Salty Buggah

            100% Agreed

    • Charlie

      cano is obviously a beast now, but i don’t think he was ever considered as good a prospect as jeter. jesus as a prospect is better than cano was when he was a prospect (as far as i know)

    • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “Best position prospect since Jeter? I mean beating out Ricky Ledee and Shane Spencer and Eric Duncan and Nick Johnson is tough work. But in all seriousness…”

      You might want to check Nick Johnson’s stats (MiLB career: .295/.447/.483/.930) before you make fun of him like that. Nick Johnson was a hell of a prospect back in the day.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        .525 OBP in AA in 1999.

        • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Yup, he was a beast. Not to mention he’s also been a pretty good MLB player. Kind of a funny player to pick on when trying to make a joke about weak Yankees prospects.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Yeah, for real. If Matsui leaves, he could be an interesting option to bring back for DH, but I don’t think he hits for enough power. I know the .400+ OBP is obviously great, but I’d like a little more power out of that spot.

            • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              In a lineup like the Yankees’, I’m not so sure the lack of power is a problem. The likely interest in a multi-year contract coupled with the lack of defensive versatility and injury concerns are, though, unfortunately. I don’t know… On a 2 or 3 year contract I think it’s something I’d seriously consider (if no Matsui on a one year deal). I never really thought about Johnson in that role, it’s an interesting idea.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                Yeah, he’d be a secondary option for sure but it’s an interesting one.

      • JMK aka The Overshare

        Larry Bowa is going to kick Lanny’s ass for saying such a thing.

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    If Montero is really this good, we should make sure he’s catching only the 8th inning.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      IETC

    • scooter

      Is Montero good in any era?

      • pete

        “just his general personality” was my fave ag quote. And i don’t care that you weren’t real alex, I still miss you

        • JMK aka The Overshare

          But now we have Lucky. It’s a shame he tries to use “statistics” and “empirical data” to back his claims. Alex Gonzalez would have never stooped to such a level. Real message board trolls prove points with logical fallacies, narrative, absurd misinterpretations of what others say, irrelevant data, and the ability to will teammates (other commenters) to victory.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            I feel as though I’ve missed something.

            • JMK aka The Overshare

              Yeah, where have you been, man? This all goes back to the Molina/Posada/Burnett thread from either yesterday or the day before.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                Ah, okay. Family stuff this weekend–my cousin is in from California and I haven’t seen her in nine years so she was hanging out here.

              • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Has he been popping up in threads since then, or was it just that discussion?

                • JMK aka The Overshare

                  I haven’t seen him in anything but the Molina chatter. I’ve been RABing mostly at work, so I haven’t really been paying as much attention. The guy cracks me up. BRIAN BRUNEY IS THE GAME 4 STARTER!!!111

                • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  If the guy participated in one discussion and hasn’t made it his business to come around and intentionally be a pest maybe we shouldn’t keep making fun of him, you know? That’s not really fair nor does it encourage people to share their ideas.

                  (I’m a killjoy, I know.)

                • JMK aka The Overshare

                  You’re bumming me out, man. It was a few discussions. One about the #4 starter in the ALCS (he seemed to indicate he was a Sox fan and thought Bruney was our 4th starter), and the others with Molina over Jorge (which, actually, was a fairly decent argument). Not for nothing, but I’m pretty sure he was a troll. Really.

                  http://riveraveblues.com/2009/...../#comments

                • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Yeah, clearly a troll. Whatever, though… Trolls want to annoy people and get attention, it’s probably best to just ignore them and not keep bringing them up.

  • http://twitter.com/hopjake Jake H

    Jesus is the man.

    • Yanks4ever

      Amen to that, Jake!! Jesus is #1 :)

      Oh, and Montero seems to have a bright future as well.

  • DontChaKnow

    If he lives up to the potential, they’ll have one of the best middle of the order lineups in a long, long time. Texeira, ARod and Montero…That has a nice ring to it.

  • Reggie C.

    That 45-50 homer mark that EJ Fagan tosses out there is rarified territory in this post-testing era.

    Looking a bit in the future , I hope the Yanks have themselves a young masher that’ll at least match and hopefully SURPASS that which the Orioles are going to get in Matt Weiters. The AL East has got a new crop of mashers rising steadily , and the Yanks might have one already in Cano. The Orioles have got at least two. Toronto has got one (Lind). Boston … nope (but they’re gonna play the FA game).

    • scooter

      Hill is another great young hitter on the Jays – and gives you tremendous offense (like Cano) from 2B

      The exciting thing about Montero is that his bat might be major-league ready now – if you compare his career path to that of Miguel Cabrera. It isn’t crazy to think he could be ready to mash in the majors by September 2010.

      If his D can continue to progress, he could be eased into catching – a day or two a week – while DH-ing.

      Another big question – where will AJax and Romine progress to by the end of 2010?

      • JMK aka The Overshare

        Another big question ā€“ where will AJax and Romine progress to by the end of 2010?

        I’d expect Jackson to spend the first half of the year in AAA and be called up to the big club, provided he does well. His lack of power and high K-rate could persuade the Yankees to keep him in AAA, if those trends continue. Also, they’ll have Swisher, Gardbrera and most likely, Damon. Is there room for five outfielders? I’m not sure.

        Romine will probably advance slowly. There’s no reason to rush him with Posada and Cervelli already in the big leagues, Montero at AAA, and a good amount of talent below him in A-ball. Chances are, he’ll stick at AA for the whole year, and possibly spend a bit of time in SWB if Montero moves up. I’d bet he stays at AA, though.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    I saw a few Tampa games this year, and what I noticed about all of the catchers, is that they weren’t given much help throwing out runners by their pitchers. No serious pickoff moves or slide steps.

    In my opinion, it seems that the organization concentrates more on the pitchers learning to pitch, rather than the catchers throwing out runners. One could come to conclusion that the organization worries more about the catchers release times and accuracy of throws more than the numbers of runners actually caught.

    Makes some sense, but then again, I’m only concerned with Melvin’s impending arrival.

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      Makes sense. Generally, pitchers are as responsible, if not more, than the catcher for a stolen base. The running game and other fundamentals seem like things they would concentrate more on the upper levels.

      Still, the scouting report on Montero indicates that his footwork and transfer are still pretty poor, so it’s hard to tell at this point. I’m hoping to make it out to SWB to catch some games and check it out myself.

      • The Three Amigos

        The good news is footwork and transfer are things you can improve with practice. The real concern is that at 20 he is 6’4 230 at least. If he gets any bigger and loses even one iota of his athletic ability he may not be viable as a catcher anymore.

        He needs to do yoga and ballet like the 300 pound offensive lineman.

        • Salty Buggah

          Ganesh shall tutor him

        • JMK aka The Overshare

          True, but if he’s not that athletic, no matter how hard he practices, he may never have the coordination and balance needed to excel. The size is a concern, too.

  • Joe B.

    I just drool over the prospect of Mauer starting with Montero DHing and backing him up in in a few years. That’s just absurdity…

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    For all the talk about how 1B is blocked for the next 7 years, let’s remember Montero is still just 19 years old. If he just could be an acceptable Catcher while he’s young, 1B will sill be there for him in his late 20s.

  • Aj

    why cant they try him in LF? he is said to have a strong arm, if manny can play outfield Dunn can play outfiend why cant a young montero?

    • Rod

      Don’t forget that Adam Dunn has played almost all of his career in the outfield so all bat little glove isn’t that outrageous. I’ve only seen Montero a couple of times but it looked like he wasn’t overly slow. Not a speedster by any stretch but not glacial either.

  • Aj

    i also think Maur will go to the red sox as they despretly need a catcher and having already lost out on a-rod and Tex i dont think theyll loose out on him. when Montero comes up he should be spending alot of time with Posada so he can mold him into a good catcher. thoughts on everything??

    • TheZack

      If Mauer somehow doesn’t resign with the Twins, which would pretty much mean the death of that team, lets be honest, then yes, I imagine the Red Sox will go all in for him. But so will the Yankees and a few other teams. They will all throw insane amounts of cash at him and guarantee him the full time catching job as well as lots of time at DH to rest.

      It won’t come down to the Yankees being outbid, just where Mauer wants to go.

      But, again, that all hinges on the Twins making the catastrophic mistake of not handing him a blank check.

    • Rod

      I wonder how much longer Mauer sticks at C given his history of knee and back problems. Not that it ruins his value too badly given that he is an elite hitter for any position.

  • Pingback: Thoughts and Links for 10-6-09