Jesus Montero’s reverse split

JoVa goes deep again in Scranton win
Alex Rodriguez, Fastball Destroyer
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

As Jesus Montero gets closer to the big leagues, more and more words are being written about him on a daily basis and it’s not always good. I looked at the ups-and-downs of his stock within the last three (!!!) months alone not too long ago, which just goes to show how every little thing gets over-analyzed. We all know about the immense offensive potential and the poor defense behind the plate, but there’s one aspect of Montero’s game that no one has mentioned: the guy has a pretty pronounced reverse platoon split. Here look…

The data comes from Driveline Baseball’s minor league splits database and is park adjusted, which is important because the ballparks in Charleston, Tampa, Trenton, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre are all pitcher-friendly, some to the extreme (coughTrentoncough). Obviously 430 plate appearances against lefties isn’t the biggest of sample sizes, but the ~70% to ~30% PA ratio is in line with the big league ratio of RHP to LHP. The walk rate is not adjusted for intentional walks since we just don’t have that splits data, but Montero has only been intentionally walked six times in his career. If we assume they all came from lefties, his walk rate drops to 8.7% after cutting them out.

Part of what makes Montero so impressive is his opposite field power, which is something we can’t verify with spray charts and will instead just have to trust the scouting reports (from Baseball America’s top ten write-up in December (subs. req’d): “[Montero] has well above-average power, particularly to the opposite field, making him well-suited for Yankee Stadium.”). Power the other way has long been one of the best indicators of future power potential in prospects because it requires big-time physical strength and an advanced approach, and Montero certainly has it. If the reverse platoon split is a true talent (which is could very easily not be), well then he’s a hitter well suited for a league dominated by right-handed pitchers and a ballpark with a short porch in right.

Montero, still just 21, is off to a scorching hot start in Triple-A this year, picking up right where he left off in 2011. He went hitless for the first time on Sunday, but still has a ~.440 wOBA and has struck just five times in 42 plate appearances. I honestly think the zero walks has more to do with a) sample size, and b) Montero being too good for the level than it does with a flaw in his approach, because he’s shown in the past that he’ll take walks when he doesn’t get anything to hit. Almost every other team would have this guy in the big leagues already, and pretty soon it won’t matter who the Yankees are paying to play where, Montero will force his way into the lineup and eventually blossom into an impact bat.

JoVa goes deep again in Scranton win
Alex Rodriguez, Fastball Destroyer
  • Camilo Gerardo

    just like Alex!

  • Carlosologist

    Montero is doing so well. Can’t wait until he comes to the big leagues. Gonna get myself a Montero shirt!

    I like that Montero displays good patience against LHP. Most young players don’t display as much patience as Montero does against lefties, I think.

  • Nick

    If only there was a sub-replacement level guy taking up the backup catcher job right now

    • Carlosologist

      It’s better if Montero plays everyday in AAA than collecting dust on the bench like Molina has.

      Jesus will come in time (I say June!). Patience is a virtue.

      • YankeesJunkie

        Considering how well that Martin has been playing there will be no rush to call up Montero. I still agree with your June assessment because I still believe Jesus will continue to mash in AAA.

      • Brian in NH

        I think unless Martin gets injured we may not see The Jesus until September. Cervelli will be a fine back up 1-2 times a week, but anything more and he’s overexposed at the plate.

  • Dino Velvet

    Kill them all, Jesus

    • JobaWockeeZ

      It wouldn’t be an odd future at all. Props if you get the reference if you don’t use google.

      • YankeesJunkie

        South Park Christmas episode?

      • Chris V.

        Golf Wang!

  • Harry

    hopefully jesus wont be a yankee soon cuz after watching this seattle and detroit game mariners are a very sad franchise right now they need to rebuild. king felix is only available pitcher at deadline id trade jesus for. but buster olney in espn insider has said boston and braves would be very very interested as well as the whole league. but atlanta could put together a very very good offer. but lets just wait and see what happens with the M’s and if montero is a yankee at the end of the day i sure hell wont be complaining.

    • YankeesJunkie

      There is no way that the Yanks trade Montero to the Red Sox, there really is no compatibility. With the Braves, unless the Yankees are center piecing for a guy like Tommy Hanson then maybe, but even then the Braves won’t trade their ace in the middle of the race.

      • Nick

        He was talking about the packages Boston and Atlanta would put together for King Felix, not Montero.

    • YanksFan in MA

      I can’t imagine any scenario where the Sox could come up with a package that the Mariners would want. Their system is not exactly stocked with close to the majors talent. They have no guaranteed impact bats. Even Kalish, Iglesias, and Ranaudo wouldn’t do it in my opinion and that is basically their top 3. None of those guys is as much of a sure thing as Montero.

    • Ted Nelson

      Everyone wants Felix. Mariners could trade him, but they could not. Depends what they’re offered. Of course there’s a price at which they’d trade him, it just might be a price that no other team is willing to pay. He’s young, cheap for a while, and the Mariners are not a poor team anyway. They’re not forced to trade him. If they do trade him, it’s probably going to be for a huge package that would include a lot more than Montero: why trade a 6+ WAR pitcher for a guy with a *chance* to be a 6 WAR hitter? If you’re trying to rebuild and all you do is come out equal in the deal… you didn’t really rebuild.

      The Mariners were apparently looking for Jesus + Nunez for Cliff Lee, who they knew they’d be losing at the end of the season anyway. I’d imagine they’d be looking for Jesus + Banuelos + …1 to 3 other good prospects… for Felix. At that price, maybe the Yankees don’t want Felix. Same for any other team.

    • pete

      Packages from those teams that could (theoretically) possibly fetch Felix:


      Cano, Banuelos, Nova +
      Jesus, Banuelos, Betances, Brackman/Nova +

      Pedroia, Iglesias, Renaudo +

      something including Heyward and other significant pieces

  • Dino Velvet

    too bad he doesn’t play shortstop or left field, he’d fill in a real hole.

    If Gardner continues to suck then you plug in Jones. If Posada continues to bat .163, then at some point you plug in Chavez at DH.

    Just don’t see where the Messiah would play on an every day basis.

    • Jess

      I like how you completely ignore Posada’s 5 homeruns.

      • MannyGeee

        Posada is slowly turning into the 2011 version of Carlos Pena. sub .200 avg with 30 knoicks doesn’t reeeealy sound out of the question does it?

        • jsbrendog (returns)

          nor would i complain for a dh to do that.

        • murakami

          Bullshit. Posada has a career .377 OBP for a reason. He’ll start hitting better for avg. when the weather gets better. If I’m a Yankee fan, I’m gleeful to see Posada’s left-handed slug is still very much intact. The walks and the good situational hitting will follow.

          Posada will beast at DH.

  • Gonzo

    No mention of him being traded?

    • Dino Velvet

      I don’t think there’s anyone available who’s worth trading for.

      I mean, I’d entertain the notion if you could get Doc Halladay or Hanley Ramirez in return.

      • Gonzo

        He may not put up Matt Weiters #’s his first or second year, you know.

        • MikeD

          Huh? Hopefully he doesn’t put up Matt Weiters numbers in his first season or two. We want better! Or did you mean to write that he may put up Matt Weiters numbers his first season or two? If so, that’s always a risk with young hitters, and NY has never been known to tolerate slow starts (meaning a season or two) of substandard performance while the kid learns on the job. It happened with Bernie Williams, but Bernie came up when the Yankees were horrid and were in a rebuilding mode. That’s not the case now.

          • Gonzo

            .311/.395/.546 in 649 PA’s

            That was Wieters’ projected rookie line from PECOTA. Obviously that didn’t happen, but it fits in this case since people are already booking Jesus for the HOF.

    • mbonzo

      I really don’t think he’ll be traded unless the Yankees get something ridiculous like Felix. After Cashman said that trading Lowell was one of his biggest mistakes, I don’t think Montero will be available for too many other guys.

      • Gonzo

        Besides the point, it should be worth a mention. He is the best trade chip they have and the rotation could use another top flight pitcher.

        Was Lowell not his biggest regret when he was going to send Montero to the M’s for half a season of Cliff Lee?

        • Ted Nelson

          “He is the best trade chip they have and the rotation could use another top flight pitcher.”

          It’s worth mentioning, but what top flight pitcher have you heard is even remotely available? Are the Yankees going to trade Jesus for Liriano? (No, in case there was any doubt there.) They have plenty of other prospects to trade for a mid-to-back-of-the-rotation starter. It has to be a real ace for Jesus to be even needed in the deal, let alone for the Yankees to include him.

          And a Felix or Josh Johnson is going to take a lot more than Jesus to get. The Mariners wanted Jesus and Nunez for 1/2 a season of Cliff Lee… what are they going to want for a decade of Felix?

          Also, while Jesus could bust and be a Matt Weiters… Felix could shred his shoulder tomorrow too. This is a guy who started pitching 150 innings at 18 and 200 innings at 20. Maybe he’s just got the shoulder to take that like CC seems to (or others before him), but my point is just that no one is a sure thing. Especially no pitcher. The risk is higher with a prospect. When you consider that the Yankees might have to include, say, their top 4 or 5 prospects to get Felix… the risk evens out a bit.

          • Ted Nelson

            I’m not saying he’s untouchable. Just that there’s a lot to consider. The chances of a deal coming together that would make sense to deal him in just aren’t that great.

            • Gonzo

              I never said there wasn’t a lot to consider or that there was a clear-cut case to trade him. I just said it’s worth a mention because “He is the best trade chip they have and the rotation could use another top flight pitcher.”

              Do you disagree? I also might add that there are a lot of other baseball writers Callis, KLaw, Olney that think it’s worth a mention too.

              • Ted Nelson

                The first thing I wrote was that it’s worth mentioning. Obviously I agree. However, Mike was analyzing his platoon splits. He mentioned that he might play-up in YS. Did you also want him to analyze the dimensions of every other ballpark in MLB and how Jesus would hit there?

                I think the chances of him being traded are low enough that it doesn’t have to be mentioned every time he is brought up. He’s a Yankee right now and there are only so many guys the Yankees would trade him for anyway. Does Mike have to start every DOtF entry with “these guys all might be traded, just saying.”

                That other journalists feel it’s worth mentioning or even that the Yankees should trade Jesus ASAP doesn’t really impact my thinking on the matter. They’re just writers. If they have an inside scoop that the Yankees are in discussions with team X… then I’ll at least pay attention. If Mike ran this site based on what everyone in the MSM is doing… it would be just another MSM site… even worse really since it would be a MSM knock-off.

                • Gonzo

                  Ok, I see. You agree with me that it’s worth mentioning, right? However, you don’t think it’s worth mentioning each time. No problem.

                  My response was specific to when Mike says, “…pretty soon it won’t matter who the Yankees are paying to play where, Montero will force his way into the lineup…” I think it’s a pretty big assumption that he will be in the Yankee lineup since he said “the lineup” and not “a lineup.” That’s all.

                  Then I responded to another poster about Cliff Lee, Jesus being the biggest trade chip, and the need for another top flight pitcher. That was specific to that poster though and should be taken in context with that person’s post.

                  No worries, a little miscommunication.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Yeah, I think it’s worth mentioning. I just also don’t think it’s a big assumption to say he’ll be in the Yankees line-up at some point. At least for an audition. Who knows, but I don’t think the chances of him getting traded this season are that great. Yes, the Yankees need pitching. However, there aren’t that many pitchers out there you’d trade him for period let alone guys who may be somewhat available for a prospect or package of prospects. There are some where it could happen (Felix and Josh… maybe others), but that makes the odds lower that he’s traded than that he gets a crack at the line-up. Add to that the trade value of these pitchers and that multiple top prospects may be required to get them, and that increases the odds that the Yankees hold onto prospects they “believe in.”

                    I could more see him getting traded if the luster wears off a little as the season progresses or in a later season… if he struggles or gets injured. Guys like Ruben Rivera or Nick Johnson were not traded at the height of their prospect status, but after they had failed to some degree (Rivera hit .719 in AAA at 22 before, and Johnson’s injury concerns had already surfaced despite very good production). Guys like Jeter or Cano or Hughes or Joba or whoever who had strong early performance at the MLB level were never traded. Could happen, but I don’t see much historical evidence of the Yankees trading such a high prospect. They are looking for elite performers, whether they come as prospects, free agents, or via trade… So if they get a really elite young vet I could see them trading Jesus, I just don’t see them trading him for anything less.

                    • Gonzo

                      You know I was thinking about that too. Most of the guys even recently traded (Tabata, AJax, ZMac, Melancon, IPK, etc…) didn’t get traded until there was a flaw that seemed more than just youth. Even Jesus last year had a ho-hum 1st half (for Montero’s standards not based on a 20 yr old in AAA standards).

                      However, I think it could come down to position and contribution for the Yanks. Can he play a position for the Yanks or can he contribute enough early on to warrant not having a position? I don’t know, but I think we’ll have an answer soon enough.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Yeah. I think he needs the chance to at least fail at the MLB level before any flaw can be exposed, because (his skill level + age +) the way he’s crushed AAA pitching late last season and early this season seems to suggest he can handle the DH position and probably get by as at least a part-time C. DH is a potential need in 2012 as of right now, and C as of 2013 (or earlier in both cases due to injury/performance).

                      If he gets 100-200 PAs, struggles, and the Yankees make a definitive call that he can’t do it… you hope it’s on good information on flaws and not merely performance in that setting. I have a lot of faith in the organization, though. If they make a trade, I think it will at least be defensible (i.e. for a top notch player). Some people accuse the Yankees of being short-sighted, but I disagree. I think they try to balance winning this season with being competitive every season… and for 15+ years they’ve done an excellent job. Montero has a good shot at being a big cog in the order for years to come at C and/or DH, and I have faith that the Yankees value that.

  • dayne

    Boston might be very interested but they simply don’t have the prospects to get the deal done, even if they include guys from there mlb roster, the M’s 2nd best prospect is a high ceiling very good hitting ss, so i doubt they would want Iglesius, Ellesbury might be a slight upgrade in CF over what the M’s have but not much and the depleted there best prospects in the Gonzo trade.Bard might be a great reliever but not enought to get a conversation starter for Felix. So unless the want to include lester or Bucholz i don’t see it happening.

    The Braves on the other hand have the elite pitching prospects to get it done, alough i think the M’s would want and elite hitter in any package for Felix.

    I do believe the Yanks could offer the best package but it would include Montero and probably both man ban and betances plus others. I would gve up any other player in our farm system before giving up Manny but to get a pitcher like Felix it might be worth it. I would hate to see Felix go to any other team and i would hate to lose those players but finding a true 25 yr old ace doesn’t come along very often. Hopefully the Yanks could get a deal done without including Manny and Sanchez but i wouldn’t hold my breathe, especially with all the quality arms the Braves could include in the deal.

    One other perspective is with the Yanks inhability to develope elite starters, Joba and Hughes as prime examples, i don’t have faith in them developing Betances or any of the other elite arms we have into aces or #2 other than Manny. Other than more experience Manny looks primed to be a top flight starter

    • MannyGeee

      The Braves on the other hand have the elite pitching prospects to get it done, alough i think the M’s would want and elite hitter in any package for Felix.

      too bad they cut the Melk Man. that coulda been the missing link!

    • murakami

      If the Yankees move Montero they are fools. Rodriguez is 35 years old. The only true elite bat we have in prime years is Robinson Cano. The aging lineup is actually a bigger issue down the road than the temporal SP shortage.

      I would not give up Montero for Felix, who has a lot of mileage on his arm. And I sure as hell wouldn’t give up Montero AND Betances or Montero AND Banuelos or god forbid, Montero, Betances AND Banuelos.

      Even though Montero alone wouldn’t fetch the King, I would not make that trade. People are far too cavalier about “offense.” Montero isn’t “offense”, he’s a unique transcendent type fat-order bat that emerges very infrequently, one that the Yankees need to join Cano to regenerate the lineup in the coming years. You can’t replace that kind of bat easily.

      Betances and Banuelos are both about a year away. Both already have a slick enough 3-pitch arsenal and just need the innings. We don’t have to “develop” third pitches for these guys as they’ve attempted with Phil Hughes. They just have to remain healthy.

      If the Yankees want to deal away Romine and Stoneburner or other good prospects of that ilk, that wouldn’t be whoring out the future for a quick fix. Montero/Banuelos/Betances are off limits if I’m Cashman.

      • Ted Nelson

        Right. Because every prospect with 3 pitches experiences instant MLB success. Control? Health? Totally irrelevant. Dellin is obviously better than Felix and even dealing Stoneburner for Felix would be “whoring the future.” If you ever deal decent prospects, even for the best players in baseball in their mid-20s, you are a bad organization. Someone should probably alert the Yankees: every top 50 prospect becomes a star and Felix is just not that good.

        This comment wasn’t as ridiculous as some of your others, but you’re still seriously underrating Felix and overrating the Yankees prospects.

        It’s certainly not obvious that the Yankees should take a huge package for Felix if the Mariners offer, but it’s also not obvious that they shouldn’t. You can make your argument without creating a strawman out of the opposition’s argument.

        • murakami

          Felix is great, but he can’t hit cleanup.

          Betances has control and even command. He’ll be fine. He’s got enormous ability.

          • Ted Nelson

            Montero can’t pitch 200 innings at an ERA in the 2s… who cares?

            Betances control comes and goes. So does his health. A lot of guys with enormous ability never make it or wind up in a bullpen.

      • DCBX

        “Montero/Banuelos/Betances are off limits if I’m Cashman.”

        Damn skippy. Obviously it’s a given that s*** happens and anyone still in the minors might be a total bust when they get to the show… but if they realize their potential, no trade that is available right now is worth it.

        • Ted Nelson

          That depends what trades are available and become available in the coming months… Unless you’re an MLB GM that’s hard to say. And I’m quite sure the Yankees realize their potential, it’s a matter of realizing their downsides too and realizing that there are other good players out there outside the org. No one is untouchable. If you want to trade for an elite MLB player, you’re going to be hard pressed to do it without giving up top prospects.

  • China Joe

    Please someone find a way for him to stick at catcher…this kid has Mike Piazza written all over him (now there was a dude with opposite field power)

  • Jonathan

    I’m so torn because I really want to see him on the big league team but with Martin actually healthy and showing the talent that made him a top 3 catcher in the league and Jorge still having pop I’m not sure what to do with him. I also believe Posada’s average will pickup and he’ll have a typical Jorge year. I would love to see Jorge come back if he’s healthy and productive on a one year deal for $5MM or so. So if C/DH are blocked the only other option besides keeping him at AAA is to trade him. But there just aren’t any pitchers available that are worth losing him. The fact of the matter is it’s still early April and Martin or Posada could be worthless by the end of the season. Remember the start of 2010?

    Gardner was stealing bases like crazy and hitting .330+
    AJ was lights out
    Hughes was lights out
    Robertson sucked
    Jeter was hitting .330
    Nick Johnson was in the lineup
    Granderson looked like a little leaguer

    I mean hell think back to Logan/Javy last year.

    Javy went: worthless POS/Ace/100% garbage
    Logan went: worthless/dominant

    So if Martin and Jorge are both healthy and productive it may cause a small problem but that’s a good problem to have. And who knows. Maybe by then a stud pitcher becomes available. I think RAB should come up with a list of players they’d trade Jesus for, and not in a vacuum; like they did with Hughes. Who would you trade Jesus for?

    • wilcymoore27

      You don’t trade Jesus Montero … period.

      He outranks practically any other hitting prospect you could exchange him for and, while you could trade him for a top pitching prospect, pitching prospects are far more volatile than hitting prospects. It is a virtual lock that Montero will be a major league all-star as a hitter – maybe eve HOF caliber. Given that he is 21 years old, that’s a lot of hitting to look forward to.

      I just don’t see a place for him right now, with Posada at DH and Martin at C hitting well and being far superior defensively to Montero. So Jesus must wait.

      • Monteroisdinero

        Agree 100%. Posada was never a super defender and certainly below average these last few years. Montero still has huge upside going forward as he adds muscle/quickness/more personal training etc.

        Looking at pics of how guys fill out over the years-it’s awesome to think what the Jesus could be.

        • S

          when Jesus fills out as he grows older, he is seriously going to have Barry Bonds circa 2003 type power.

          • Gonzo

            I laughed.

          • Ted Nelson

            If he takes a truck load of HGH maybe…

        • Matt Imbrogno

          How much more can he really fill out, though? And, if he adds weight like most guys do, that’ll only hurt him behind the plate.

      • Brian in NH

        nobody is untouchable, as Cashman has said. But you need to get value in return for what you are giving up. Jesus is almost (but not quite) invaluable and while i’m not comparing him to Arod or Pujols, he could be a once in a decade kind of talent. He could be nothing, but with so much potential you have to get a lot of value in return. Would we get Felix? not without a shit ton of others, but with Montero you can start that conversation. And I would definitely put montero in a package for Felix…the king is that good.

        • Guest


      • Matt Imbrogno

        It is a virtual lock that Montero will be a major league all-star as a hitter – maybe eve HOF caliber. Given that he is 21 years old, that’s a lot of hitting to look forward to.

        In the words of George Costanza, easy big fella.

        • Gonzo

          If that kid turns into only a decent hitter, there are gonna people who are going to call for someone’s head.

          Weren’t the last top 5 prospects the Yankees had Hughes, Joba, and Ruben Rivera?

          • Ted Nelson

            Nick Johnson. Derek Jeter. (Contreras was #6. Henson was #9.)

            Yeah, agree that top prospects don’t often pan out. I like Jesus as much as the next guy (and he’s got a leg up on a lot of guys in doing it in the high minors and for multiple years), but it’s just crazy to act like he *can’t* fail.

            • murakami

              Actually, it isn’t crazy. It doesn’t matter how much you “like” him, his projected greatness isn’t some sentimental fancy of a parochial community of Yankee fans.

              It’s one thing to speculate about whether or not he will remain at catcher, but the odds are stacked dramatically in Jesus Montero’s favor that he will succeed as an elite hitter.

              People take the truism about prospects being a crap shoot to the extreme without any critical reasoning. They think they can sling out that truism in all circumstances, that it always applies, as if it’s some clever disclaimer that shows the person saying so has some sort of hardened, discriminating, realistic low down.

              But it actually betrays a lack of critical thinking, it’s really lazy to suggest he doesn’t already have the bat speed, power, hit-ability, and pitch recognition to be not just a major leaguer, but have an exceptional career.

              People forget this isn’t an Adam Dunn type hitter. This guy is going to hit for average and hit for power to all fields. You just don’t know what you’re talking about. The idea that you trade him because he may not pan out is uninformed in the extreme. He has NO HOLES in his swing, and he rarely even strikes out for an elite power bat. There’s a reason why EVERYONE has him as an unqualified hitting star going forward.

              In terms of the odds? He “can’t” fail. How about that?

              • Ted Nelson

                The odds being stacked in his favor and him being unable to fail are not the same thing…

                People would have gone on and on about how every top 5 prospect in the history of baseball couldn’t fail for this reason and that. A lot of them still failed. Failure is a relative thing. When expectations are set so ridiculously high that it’s being taken for granted that he’ll one day be considered for the HOF… yes he can fail.

                In this case, the success level was set by an earlier commenter at “All-Star type hitter.” Of course that has no meaning at all. If his All-Star spot is blocked by Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, etc… he’s failed in that sense. More so, they were implying that he’s be a very good hitter. If he is merely a good hitter, again he’s failed.

                “In terms of the odds? He “can’t” fail. How about that?”

                No. The whole point is that in terms of the odds he absolutely can fail. There’s no meaning to the above quote. “He has a 100% chance of success” and “the odds are 100% that he’ll succeed”… those mean the same thing. And neither is true.

                I’m not saying that he’s not a great prospect or that he’ll fail. I’m saying that if you allow for the fact that there’s even a 1% chance he’ll fail, then the odds do say he could fail.

                There are even guys who do make it to the MLB level and succeed, then fail.

                He can also fail in his early 20s and succeed later. To suggest that anyone is a 100% lock to come up at 21 and crush MLB pitching is also crazy. He might very well crush right out of the gate, but he also might very well face an adjustment period/slump like he did in AAA. That could last a couple of years. If might not mean he OPS’ .600 and is awful, it might just mean that he isn’t quite as good as strong MLB hitters like Martin, Posada, Chavez, and/or Jones.

            • S

              Thanks for catching that, I Pitchers are fickle, bats not so much. The odds are very good that a dominate bat in the minors translates to at least a good bat in the majors. Also Nick Johnson was a career .288 hitter with a .400 career . his issues stemmed from an inability to stay healthy

        • murakami

          THe big fella is not being extravagant. He is actually making sense.

      • murakami

        100 percent agree you DO NOT TRADE Jesus Montero. No conditions apply.

        Now, I would like to see his bat added to the lineup THIS season and sooner than later. ARod’s hip issues have already affected playing time. He’s brilliant but he’s 35. We need to give Jesus a little more time on the farm and then bring him up for good. Martin’s health is no guarantee so I would begin to get Montero familiar with the SP and have a slightly more democratic plan behind the plate.

        If Martin goes down, we’re not stuck with offensive cipher Cervelli (certainly in terms of slugging) to pick up the pieces, but Montero can move in more comfortably. Yes, he’ll struggle some. Big fucking deal. We won four WS with Posada behind the plate.

        • Ted Nelson

          “100 percent agree you DO NOT TRADE Jesus Montero. No conditions apply.”

          For Felix Hernandez straight-up you don’t trade him? For Ichiro, Ackley, and Felix you don’t trade him? For Posey, Lincecum, Sanchez, and Cain you don’t trade him? There is a point at which you would trade him, and I believe it’s lower than even Felix alone. To say you wouldn’t trade him for a cost controlled 6 WAR 25 year old pitcher is really optimistic… How much above 6 WAR do realistically project Jesus to be (not best-case).

          “ARod’s hip issues have already affected playing time.”

          Oblique and back don’t necessarily have anything to do with hip… and is Jesus playing 3B?

          “If Martin goes down, we’re not stuck with offensive cipher Cervelli (certainly in terms of slugging) to pick up the pieces”

          If Martin were to go down, sure Jesus would get the call. Not every player who has been injured in the past will get injured in any given season. Right now Jesus is down to delay his arb clock and get him regular reps. Have some patience and his time will come sooner than later.

          • DCBX

            Yes… there is always a price. If SF was so stupid If Cashmoney’s ninja skills can get the Freak and Posey for Jesus and either Betances or Banuelos, it’s a no brainer.

          • murakami

            No, Montero won’t replace Alex at 3B, but would eventually assume the cleanup role or bat fifth behind Cano.

            Alex is the current RH elite hitter/power bat Montero will eventually replace.

            • Ted Nelson

              He could eventually do that, absolutely. And I value that. However, I think you undervalue Felix Hernandez and the value of starting pitching. They pitch every 5th game, but they throw all the pitches, whereas a hitter gets 5 PAs per game. I’m not saying that a 4 hitter or #1 starter is always more/less valuable, but that Felix is a damn valuable pitcher and you keep insisting that Jesus will necessarily be a more valuable hitter… which just isn’t something anyone can say with 100% certainty.

        • Monteroisdinero

          Murakami is my Montero soul mate. Obviously has seen the Jesus swing the bat in person as I have.

          • murakami

            That I have. What a sight, what a sound!

            Even when he wasn’t hitting you could see what lay in store for that bat.

            It was like Cano’s HR the other night. Doesn’t even step into the pitch, doesn’t do anything but flick his wrists and the ball takes off.

            You don’t trade that.

  • Dave

    Isn’t a reverse split at this level likely just a function of his not having seen nearly as many lefties as righties? If he starts to see them more often in the majors, he’ll likely hit them as well or even better than righties — which will make him even more impressive.

    I can’t see him getting time this year at C or DH unless someone gets hurt. Any chance he can stagger around under some fly balls and learn the outfield if Gardner can’t get out of his funk?

    • Guest

      He seems…slow. And with the cavernous left-center at Yankee stadium, I see him turning a lot of outs into double if he replaces Gardner in left. (Not to mention the total defensive drop-off when you consider all of the doubles Gardner turns into outs).

      Keep him behind the plate. At some point this year, bring him and cut into both Martin and Posada’s playing time OR trade him as part of a package for elite pitching.

      One thing to watch: Justin Smoak. If Smoak slumps, I think that might actually have a big impact on Montero’s future. Remember, Seattle essentially chose Smoak over Montero last year for Lee. If Montero continues to mash while Smoak is only so-so, Montero may become “the one that got away.” And as we all know, no one is more attractive “than the one that got away” or “the one you let go but shouldn’t have.” (For a more apt baseball analogy, see Johnson, Nick).

      If my pop-psych 101 is right, a package headlined by Montero might be more attractive to the Mariners this time around. And if we are willing to be sufficiently strong with the rest of the packages (two Killer Bs and a Nova/Noesi type), we might be able to get King Felix.

      Who is 25. In case anyone forgot.

      • murakami

        Felix has a ton of miles on his arm. I give them our “B” prospects, which means maybe Heathcott, Jo-Ram, Stoneburner, Romine.

        They’re not getting my Frank Howard-Piazza-Miggy for him, nor Banuelos or Betances.

        This is why you build up a farm system in the first place. You keep the jewels and give up the Heathcotts, Romines, Jo-Rams and Stoneburners if you must (those guys are all high upside talents, not filler, btw). I’d give them Joba and Gardner in a package, too. If they don’t like the offer, you pass.

        • Ted Nelson

          You realize that there’s absolutely zero chance that the Mariners would ever trade Felix for “maybe Heathcott, Jo-Ram, Stoneburner, Romine” right? That he’s 25 and as good any pitcher in baseball? In order to trade for elite players, you need to give up elite prospects. You can posit that Dellin Betances is more valuable than Felix Hernandez and that you would be your prerogative. I don’t think you’ll find anyone who is not a Yankee fan and agrees, though.

          This comment pretty much made me realize not to take your comments seriously, though. Feel like an idiot for wasting my time.

          • murakami

            We’ll see who’s laughing last, friend.

            • Ted Nelson

              Your point is basically that every top Yankee prospect cannot fail. I am hoping they don’t fail, I am laughing at the logic that led you to that conclusion.

        • Guest

          Sweet mother of all that is holy. “I give them our “B” prospects, which means maybe Heathcott, Jo-Ram, Stoneburner, Romine.” For Felix Hernandez.

          You know, I think this trade might be sufficiently ridiculous that MLB would not allow it go through. I’m serious. Like, the commissioner’s office would say “Nope. Can’t happen. And Seattle GM, you’re fired. We’re replacing you with someone competent on behalf of the Mariners.”

          Post this sentence on a Mariner’s board. See what happens. Just for laughs.

          • DCBX

            As much as I love to be witness to such a robbery, I lol’d.

            • DCBX

              *would love

          • murakami

            Yeah, like the ridiculous haul the Twins got for Santana. Or the Pads got for AGon.

            • Ted Nelson

              Those teams were motivated to trade players who were coming up on FA and they’d never re-sign… Felix is not coming up on FA, is 25 years old, and the Mariners have plenty of money to keep him around. Totally different circumstances. If they trade him it’s not because they have to, but because they are getting a great return that can speed their “rebuilding.”

              Still, the packages they got shit all over your Heathcott/Ramirez offer. Romine is the only guy in your package who has at any point been considered a top 100 prospect. Both the Twins and Pads got 3 guys considered top 100. Perhaps the Mariners happen to have as rosy a picture of the Yankees farm as you do, but it’s fairly unlikely. Especially since they could have taken some of those guys for Cliff Lee if they thought they were so great.

            • Guest

              Neither guy was nearly as valuable as Felix Hernandez. Not. Even. Close.

              Santana was about to become a free agent in a year. AGon as well. They were both in the middle of their primes and seeking top of the market deals that would still pay them top of the market rates after they had passed their primes.

              Felix is under contract for five years. Felix is 25. He’s signed to an under-market rate for all of those five years, every last one of which will be one of his prime years. Santana’s injury issues were far more concerning than Felix.’

              And finally, both trades the AGon and Santana trades were bad in that the teams did not get enough in return. Just because those trades were bad does not mean that the Mariners will also make a bad trade.

              There’s no reason for the Yanks to NOT offer the Mariners a bad package. But the package you suggest would not just be a “bad package.” It would be highway robbery at gunpoint. We shouldn’t count on the Mariners’ accepting an historically inadequate package for a 25 year old ace who is under contract for five years at a below market rate just because other teams accepted bad packages for far less valuable players.

              Again, just post your trade offer on a Mariners website. See what happens.

    • Ted Nelson

      Mike specifically says that the 70%-30% split is similar to the MLB level. So, I don’t think it’s the proportion. Could be the sample size, though.

      I think it’s worth considering him in LF for later in the season. He’d also have to provide more value at the position than Andruw Jones, which I think is dubious. It’s unlikely Jesus is an average defender in LF (the way Jones in his current state is), and his bat as a rookie may not be any better than or even as good as Jones’. Perhaps Jones will be hurt or ineffective, though, or Jesus can steal some PAs there to go with some C and DH PAs. (Also Gardner will break out of this funk to some extent, it’s just a matter of to what extent.)

      • murakami

        Wow. No. Montero cannot play left field in Yankee Stadium. The best he could do would be approximate a right fielder with his great arm, but that would also be risky business. You might be able to live with that, though, but never left field.

        • Monteroisdinero

          Agree again. Montero will never be acceptable as a left fielder in YS. Imagine Miguel Cabrera out there? Not pretty-even though I think Montero has a better arm.

          • Ted Nelson

            The point is really about replacing Gardner in the line-up. If you have Jones or Swisher or whoever in LF and Jesus in RF… who cares? Even then I’m not sure Jesus can play OF, but it could be possible every once in a while if things get really bad in the OF and/or you really want to find Jesus more PAs.

            • DCBX

              C’mon the Yanks used to run *Yogi* out there once in a while at YSII, which was no less cavernous.

              Not saying the kid should be the starting LF, but if it gets his bat in the lineup once a week while keeping Martin in…

        • Ted Nelson

          Sorry, forgot that some random poster on RAB is the ultimate authority on everything.

          Take an English lesson there. “Worth considering” does not mean he should play LF. The hypothetical case brought up by the commenter above is one where Garnder is so awful offensively all season that he simply has to be replaced. I made it pretty clear in my comment that the next option is Jones. I also said it’s very likely Jones is a better option. However, I said that it’s worth considering to get him a few more PAs to supplement his C and DH PAs if he’s raking but so are Martin and Posada/Chavez.

          The Yankees also don’t play all their games in Yankee Stadium, in case you were unaware of that. There are these crazy “road games” that they’ve been experimenting with the last few years.

          And if you move Swisher to LF (not that I want that) and Jesus to RF… who cares? Same difference. The question was whether Jesus could maybe, potentially, possibly replace Gardner if things get really bad. There is a point under a certain set of outcomes where Jesus’ bat could more than make up for the runs he allows on defense.

  • Will

    Nothing like an off day to come up with the most ridiculous trade proposals. And everyone wants Felix, but just because the Mariners are off to a slow start doesn’t mean theyll trade away their Cy Young ace who happens to be on an extremely friendly team contract.

    • Ted Nelson

      The would trade him, it would just take a hell of a package in return.

  • T.J.

    I think Montero, Banuelos, Betances and Nova probably gets it done for Felix.

    Two immediate impact guys in Montero and Banuelos, another with very high-upside and a solid #3/4 starter in the AL West.

    Maybe the Mariners don’t do it but I think it definitely gets them interested.

    • Ted Nelson

      I agree that it’s the kind of package the Mariners might listen to… But the Yankees would have to be willing to trade their top 3 prospects, so I don’t think it’s a no-brainer for them. There’s a whole lot of downside. Felix looks like a once-in-a-generation pitcher, but he also logged a lot of innings young and if his shoulder goes the Yankees get squat out of the deal. Even if Felix averages 8, 9 WAR per season through his prime years, Jesus, Manny, and Dellin could be in the 15 WAR range for their prime years if they all hit.

      It’s sort of a Granderson deal on a much larger scale. The Yankees are glad that they got a solid CF in Granderson, but had to give up 3 solid pieces to do it. Felix is a lot better than Curtis, but those prospects are also a lot better. The Yankees could get an Ace who is the best player of the deal, but still give up a whole lot in the deal.

      There’s also HUGE upside where you get an ACE and give up 3 prospects who could all bust. I just don’t think it’s a total no-brainer for the Yankees. Especially because it might take more than just those 4 to get Felix.

      I think you almost have to do it, but it’s a risky deal.

      • Epy0n

        Do we even know if Seattle is willing to part ways with Felix?

        • Ted Nelson

          I don’t know anything about Seattle’s front office besides what everyone else here does. However, if you offer them enough of course they’re willing to part ways with him. This is baseball, not basketball. One guy doesn’t make a team. They’re one of the worst teams in baseball right now, and after Pineda and Ackley their system isn’t very good.
          It’s a matter of what they think is enough for Felix being what other teams think is too much, or just plain more than other teams have. I don’t think they’re motivated to move him at all. If a team really blew them away, though, they’d have to consider it (if they’re at all well run… which is dubious I grant you).

          I said it’s a deal they “might” “listen to.” That means both that they might not listen to it, and that if they do listen they might proceed to hang up the phone right afterwards. All depends what they think of those prospects, of course.

          There’s a downside to all these prospects, and naysayers for each… maybe the Mariners are naysayers. They basically took Smoak over Jesus last season. Jesus has hit a whole lot better since then, but perhaps they still don’t love him (this is a team that really seems to value defense, to an unhealthy extent… I mean Jack Wilson and Brendan Ryan… really? One defensive SS who can’t hit a lick wasn’t enough?). Betances is a guy a lot of people think is a reliever long-term, so they might also not care too much for him. Nova is borderline. Banuelos is a stud, but you hear plenty of scouts who would honestly take a big bad pitcher over a small good pitcher.

          Then again, these guys are very good prospects. Jesus and Manny are both top-15-ish in baseball, which not many other teams can offer (Royals aren’t likely to bid and Mariners themselves are one of the only others with Pineda and Ackley).

    • MikeD

      I think the bigger question is would the Yankees want to do that. If they think Banuelos is a major prospect who can contribute big time in 2012, and that Montero can take over at DH in 2012 and provide major run production, it’s the Yankees who will hesitate.

      You’re right. It would take a package like that to land King Felix. Yet the Yankees would have to buy into that, since it will strip mine their system of major prospects for several years, perhaps restricting other trades.

      • murakami

        You guys need an introduction to Dellin Betances.

        He’s as front-end in potential as anyone we’ve ever had. Way to leave him out of the equation.

        • Ted Nelson

          Everyone knows who Dellin is and what his potential is. Thanks for being a dick, though. Everyone also knows what his issues are and that he could wind up in the bullpen as easily as the rotation.

          • murakami

            Not trying to be a dick, just feel Betances gets lost in all the Banuelos adulation. They’re both tremendous talents. Betances isn’t the raw pitcher he’s made out to be. Not uncommon either to see him start a batter off with his breaking stuff. He can really pitch, that’s all.

        • T.J.

          Betances is great but I think the consensus is that while his upside is higher than Banuelos he’s not as likely to end up in the starting rotation.

          • murakami

            But this is misinformed and based on Betances pre-2010. Betances this past season repeated his delivery with relative ease, especially considering his height.

            He throws downhill and commands the best curveball in the system very well, and busts hitters up with his 95-96 heater. His changeup also gets swings and misses and he’ll throw these in any count.

            He’s not the raw arm he was previously. If his health falters, that’s another story. He’s much more polished than that ST exhibit and the general consensus would lead you to believe. People in NJ should go see him while they can at Trenton. He outpitched Drabek twice last year and was basically unhittable.

  • Virginia Yank


    Do you have any information on why the Yankees have predominantly pitcher friendly parks in the minors? It seems to me that those parks probably don’t help their young pitchers prepare well for pitching in Yankees Stadium.

  • MikeD

    As I mentioned I think in the open thread last night, Montero’s chance of making the majors right now is blocked not by Russell Martin, but by Jorge Posada. Montero’s bat is ready, but his glove in questionable. He could DH and serve as a back-up catcher/some back-up first base, but he’ll need the DH slot to get enough ABs. It’ll be interesting to watch as the season unfolds. Posada still can hit a fastball and has hit some big HRs. Will the Yankees tolerate his .170 BA, even with the power? My guess is Jorge’s BA will be going up as he gets more ABs, but he may start feeling pressure from the kid. A bit odd. Montero was supposed to replace Posada at catcher. Now he may replace him at DH.

    • Ted Nelson

      It’s 50 PAs so far… just because Martin was hotter for the first 50 and all Jorge hit were HRs, doesn’t mean much about the next 50… or the next 500.

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