• Getting Real On Jesus Montero

    Posted by on March 9th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    Tim Marchman says “Yankees Fans Should Temper Their Expectations for Montero.”

    I say: Amen!

    I laugh at all the fanboys who are dry humping Jesus’ leg as if he’s going to be the next Albert Pujols. (Like I’ve said in the past, two years ago, we’ll be lucky if he’s the next Paul Konerko.)

    Remember Gary Alexander, Ben Petrick, Steve Decker, Ben Davis and Mike Ivie? They were all supposed to be the next great hitting catcher too.

    I’d be happy if Montero ends up with a career like Mike Sweeney at this point. And, if it’s better than that, it’s a bonus.

    Comments on Getting Real On Jesus Montero

    1. Raf
      March 9th, 2011 | 8:24 am

      There’s nothing wrong with “fanboys” who are excited with having a prospect the caliber of Montero in the system.

      No need to rain on anyone’s parade.

    2. MJ Recanati
      March 9th, 2011 | 8:37 am

      As usual, Steve hates anything new, different and out of his comfort zone.

      Expectations are what they are for a reason: Montero is considered the best power hitting prospect in baseball and is being given his due attention not by “fanboys” but by literally every single scout and baseball observer in the country.

      If he doesn’t achieve his potential, that’s a different story. But there’s absolutely no reason for fans not to be excited about Montero right now.

      There’s a difference between trying to temper enthusiasm and literally pissing on the heads of those who are excited. You fall into the latter camp and I just can’t understand why you’re unable to remain grounded without crossing over into the realm of negativity and insult.

    3. March 9th, 2011 | 8:39 am

      Raf – using that logic, then there’s nothing wrong with Yankees fans expecting Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon to win a combined 30 games in 2011 too.

    4. March 9th, 2011 | 8:48 am

      @ MJ Recanati:

      Two words: Ruben Rivera.

      He was once the Yankees top prospect and one of the best in all of baseball, at the time, according to many, many, creditable outlets. He was supposed to be the next Mickey Mantle.

      What happened? Where did his career go?

      Now, I’m not saying that Montero will follow this route. I’m just saying let the kid play, see how he does, and then start to make a happy time in your pants if he turns out good. In the meantime, anythying before than is just premature wetness in your undies.

    5. Raf
      March 9th, 2011 | 9:08 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Raf – using that logic, then there’s nothing wrong with Yankees fans expecting Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon to win a combined 30 games in 2011 too.

      Using your logic, it’s reasonable to expect that Colon and Garcia should be able to win a combined 30 games since they’re proven veterans that have done it before.

    6. Jim TreshFan
      March 9th, 2011 | 11:01 am

      Well, Hells Bells! I’ll take a Mike Sweeney—a healthy Mike Sweeney—someone who bats .320, with 25+ HRs and 100+ RBIs a year. What’s wrong with that?

    7. Greg H.
      March 9th, 2011 | 12:43 pm

      The thing that excites me – and it’s legit – is that there’s more than just Baby Jesus down there percolating in AAA this year. We have a solid number of high-ceiling players, that although not all of them will succeed in the bigs, odds are that some of them will. We’ve built a dynasty on 4 or 5 of them surfacing at around the same time – a catcher, 2 pitchers an infielder and an outfielder.

      Out here in SF area, people get plenty excited about prospects – Lincicum, Sanchez, Bumgarner, Posey, et al. Plenty excited. It doesn’t change a thing, except to make the fans more engaged and put the onus on these kids to step up. BTW Timmy Tie Stick’s first season was pedestrian, but after that he won 2 Cy Youngs. So when these kids do come up, patience is a virtue I hope the NY brass has at least started to learn.

    8. Evan3457
      March 9th, 2011 | 6:46 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Two words: Ruben Rivera.
      He was once the Yankees top prospect and one of the best in all of baseball, at the time, according to many, many, creditable outlets. He was supposed to be the next Mickey Mantle.
      What happened? Where did his career go?
      Now, I’m not saying that Montero will follow this route. I’m just saying let the kid play, see how he does, and then start to make a happy time in your pants if he turns out good. In the meantime, anythying before than is just premature wetness in your undies.

      If, in fact, the hype was as severe for Ruben Rivera as it is for Montero, it’s because of the type of player he was. He had more raw power. He drew more walks. He was much faster. He was a legit centerfielder. As you said, he seemed to be Mickey reincarnated (before the real Mickey was actually uncarnated).

      But in terms of pure hitting ability, Montero’s minor league batting record is superior in the two ways that count most: better pure stroke (more line drives, higher BAVG) and fewer K’s (a lot fewer).

      If you look at Montero and Rivera’s batting records very closely, you’ll see that:
      1) Rivera never hit .300 anywhere, at any level, at any age.
      2) Montero got to each level a year younger than Rivera, and outhit him at every level, except, arguably AAA.
      3) Montero did his hitting in tougher hitter’s parks at the AA and AAA level.
      4) Montero had about half the K rate. Rivera, and this is crucial, K’d once every 3.3 AB from the time he entered pro ball until his age 22 repeat at AAA. Montero has K’d once every 6.0 AB since he started pro ball.

      It’s true Rivera stole a ton of bases, drew a lot more walks, and hit HR at a significantly higher rate. But the K rate is king when separating a the blue chip from the super-blue chip. You can still have a terrific career with a very high K rate, as Reggie and Schmidt and Thome have shown. It’s just a lot harder.

      5. And here’s the clincher: in his 2nd round of AAA, the veterans adjusted to Rivera. They found his holes. He never adjusted back. Take a look at his 1st full season at AAA at age 22. Montero, on the other hand, struggled like crazy until early June. Then he adjusted to them, and beat the living carp out of AAA for two solid months. THAT is the hallmark of the real prospect; the ability to adjust and master, nay, dominate players who once held the upper hand on him.

      Should we expect Montero to dominate from the get-go?

      No, that’s highly unusual.

      But I will be very surprised if, when Montero is finally given a real shot, his bat doesn’t develop to at least All-Star Game level by the time he’s 25-26.

    9. Evan3457
      March 9th, 2011 | 6:48 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Raf – using that logic, then there’s nothing wrong with Yankees fans expecting Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon to win a combined 30 games in 2011 too.

      Well, yes, there is something wrong with that; it’s not the same.

      Garcia and Colon are clearly on the back nine of their careers. It would most unusual from them to both rebound and pitch that well. It should not be expected. Maybe 15-20 wins, if both stay healthy.

      Montero is clearly several years from peaking. Completely different animial.

    10. 77yankees
      March 9th, 2011 | 8:56 pm

      If you remember back in the early 90s, Bernie Williams was projected to be a 10-15 HR, 40 SB outfielder. And both those turned out to be wrong. And he really didn’t emerge until the equivalent of 3-4 full seasons.

      Albert Pujols is the exception to the rule – maybe one out of 1,000 can just dominate from day one and sustain it. If Montero hits .270 with 10 HR & 55 RBI his first full season, will anyone be calling him a bust? Of course not.

      I’d much rather see a rookie who can adapt as time goes on rather than an Oscar Azocar who hits .400 his first three weeks in the majors and then fades into oblivion.

    11. bags
      March 10th, 2011 | 9:03 am

      Goodness, Steve. What is wrong with baseball fans getting excited about a young player? It is a game, a sport, an entertainment. What’s wrong with a little joy and optimism? And why denigrate people who take a little pleasure in the game and its possibilities in a sometimes otherwise bleak world with labels like “fanboys” who make happy time in their wet undies? You’re welcome to your opinion. But I can’t say I appreciate what you are suggesting about me with demeaning comments like that.

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