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Yankees have potential gem in Jesus Montero

The Yankees have what many believe is a can’t miss prospect roaming through the minor leagues. Jesus Montero is just waiting for his time.

When any team calls to propose a big trade with the Yankees, the first name they likely ask about is Jesus Montero. The 20 year old catcher is thought to be a can’t miss prospect. His name constantly appears on many lists of top prospects in baseball.

From everything I have heard and read about this kid, Yankee fans should be extremely happy the team has not dealt him in any deal. That includes proposals for stars like Roy Halladay.

Montero was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2006. In his first full season of professional baseball, Montero hit .326 with 17 home runs and 87 RBI’s for Class-A Charleston. He has not stopped hitting since. Last season Montero began the year at Class-A Tampa. The Florida State League that Tampa plays in is known as a pitcher friendly league. That did not stop the youngster. Montero hit .356 with eight home runs and 37 RBI’s in the 48 games he played for Tampa. Those numbers earn him a promotion to Double-A Trenton. In Trenton, Montero hit .317 with nine home runs and 33 RBI’s before suffering a season ending broken finger in on his glove hand.

With his size, some scouts are skeptic on whether or not Montero can play the catcher position at the Major League level. He is 6’4 and 225 pounds. The Yankees are pretty much set at the three spots Montero could play, catcher, first base, and designated hitter. If Montero continues to rake the way he has, it will be tough for the Yankees to keep him down. Unless of course an injury opens a spot.

There are some very high hopes for Montero and the hype is obvious. Just about every scout or baseball guy will tell you the Yankees have a big time hitter. Some are comparing him to some pretty big names.

“He can mash,” said Patrick Teale, who covers the Yankees for Pinstripes Plus magazine. “This guy could be [Albert] Pujols-like, he could be [Mike] Piazza-like. He’s got that kind of bat. He can hit for average, he can hit for power, he can hit any pitch and he’s got a good approach at the plate.”

Although he still has some work to do, his skills behind the plate have been improving. While his offensive skills will certainly be what carries him to the Majors, if he can continue to improve defensively he could see time with the big club even sooner.

Most people you talk to say Montero is the guy that will eventually replace current Yankee Jorge Posada behind the plate. We will likely get a good look of Montero in spring training this year and then at Triple-A Scranton. I know he is one guy that may urge me to take the short trip to Scranton.

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