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25 Chasing 28: Jesus Montero and the New York Yankees

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Jesus Montero, born November 28, 1989

2010 in Review: 123 games, 504 PA, .289/.353/.517, 132 RC+, 21 HR, 75 RBI, 66 R, 0 SB

Defense: 105 games at catcher, six errors, 15 passed balls, 23% caught stealing (all for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)

The Good: Montero adjusted to Triple-A pitching (or got luckier), increasing his OPS more than .300 points in the second half (.743 vs. 1.080), probably due to a ~.09 rise in BABIP. He maintained a 20% line drive rate all season and showed that he is ready to take the next step. There's not much to say about his bat. For scouts, it's not so much "if" but "when" he becomes an elite hitter. His defense may have taken a small step up from 2009: it got mixed reviews from scouts as opposed to awful reviews as in the past.

The Bad: It's still his defense. In 129 attempts, he gunned down only 30 potential base-stealers - in other words, the opposition ran at will on him. Unless a lot of blame falls on the pitchers, it will only get worse at the ML level. You have to wonder if Montero will be the long-term Yankee catcher, if he won't hold the job only until Tex leaves, or if he gets traded.

Around mid-season, he failed to run out a grounder and was benched for several games. On the other hand, reports said he did extensive catching drills after games and often caught bullpen sessions when he didn't have to.

While his walk rate stayed mostly consistent with previous seasons, his K rate spiked to 20% (up from 13% in '09). If you had to pick a part of his offensive game to improve, it would be his patience/discipline: a .057 "isolated-discipline" isn't particularly good (and is very close to Robbie Cano's minor league ISOd).

2011 Outlook: He may not have a place on the roster due to Russell Martin and Jorge Posada, but he'd probably be the first player called up if either of them got hurt or were ineffective. If they don't, we may not see him until 2012, which would be a shame.