Keith Law posted his list of the top 20 impact prospects for the 2011 season today (Insider req’d), with Freddie Freeman, Jeremy Hellickson, and Kyle Drabek leading the way. Jesus Montero is the final name on the list simply because of the uncertainty about how much he’ll play this season. “I have little doubt that he’ll hit if he plays,” said KLaw, “but don’t have a good sense of when he’ll play — or if he’ll end up traded for a starting pitcher.” Fair assessment, I don’t think anyone, not even the Yankees, has a concrete idea of how much Montero will play for the big league team this summer. Remember, it’s not a top prospect list, just a list of which guys will have the most impact at the Major League level in 2011.
As an added bonus, Dan Szymborski ran down his ZiPS projections for all 20 players on the list (also Insider), and he came up with (get this) .273/.334/.503 with 28 homers for Montero next season. Forget Rookie of the Year, if he does that while playing behind the plate regularly, he’s an MVP candidate.