The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports today that the New York Yankees’ long awaited call up of Jesus Montero will finally take place once rosters are expanded in September.
[Montero] is going to get opportunities to play and specifically hit, which is by far his best tool. Jorge Posada’s postseason roster spot remains tenuous enough that Montero could have a big September and make himself viable for October at-bats as a DH. Posada will not be the DH against lefty pitching and the Yanks are currently in line to play the Rangers, who will start at least two lefties against the Yanks. In that scenario, the Yanks could counter a southpaw starter with a lineup that puts Andruw Jones in left and Montero as the DH; that is if Montero proves he can translate all the hype and hope about his bat into major-league success immediately.
The catcher / designated hitter of the future has put up slightly less thrilling numbers at Triple A than one year ago, but found his bat again as the Minor League season drew to a close. While talk of his taking a post season roster spot away from Jorge Posada may be premature, there’s no doubt that the rookie and the veteran’s respective futures in New York couldn’t be heading in more opposite directions.
As always, when it comes to prospects being called up, we’ll rely on the evaluations of ESPN’s Keith Law.
Here’s what he had to say about Montero in 2010:
Montero’s ticket to the big leagues is his bat, and his hitting style is similar to that of another big guy who spent a lot of his career at DH: Frank Thomas. Montero transfers his weight early and hits off his front foot, but he generates tremendous bat speed and is so strong that he hits and hits for power regardless of the fact that he’s on that lead foot. Behind the plate, he has arm strength and has improved his accuracy, but he’s so big that he doesn’t move quickly enough to catch in the big leagues, and his receiving has never been a strength. His bat is so far ahead of his glove anyway that it might end up making sense for the Yankees to employ him as a major league DH soon rather than wait for him to develop as a catcher, knowing that there’s a good chance the latter won’t happen.
And ahead of this season:
He’s going to hit. And by that, I mean he’s going to hit for average, get on base and have huge power — the type of offensive profile that plays anywhere on the field and in the lineup. Montero is a physical beast, the rare front-foot hitter who can generate big-time power, reminiscent of Frank Thomas who was, himself, also a patient and disciplined hitter.
With a bat this potentially strong, why risk injury or give up the 20-25 games a year when your catcher has to rest? Montero could solve the Yankees’ DH problem for the next 10 years if they commit to it, a move they are unlikely to ever regret.
And finally, most recently, as part of Law’s updated prospect rankings from earlier this summer:
His bat still hasn’t really come around, although I have to believe the power and patience are all still in there. For a guy who projects as a first baseman or DH, though, .289/.346/.418 isn’t an inspiring offensive performance given his history.