Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Should Jesus Montero Be an Option for Left Field?
Since the question came up in the prior thread, let’s see if the Yankees should at least consider using Jesus Montero in the outfield.
Obviously, we should know that:
a) We don’t know how he’d look defensively in the outfield.
b) Offense from a catcher is far more valuable than similar offense from an outfielder.
c) Montero’s still really young, and although he’s a very good hitting prospect, he probably still doesn’t project all that well in general in 2010 because of where he is in his development.
d) There’s a fair amount of uncertainty that Montero will ever be a good enough defensive catcher to stay there in the majors, although his performance in 2009 was somewhat promising in that regard.
e) A catcher is simply not going to be able to play as frequently as someone at a less demanding position.
Here’s something that we may or may not know. According to research done by Tangotiger in the 2009 Hardball Times Annual, the average catcher will hit about 12% better when he’s not playing catcher. This is pretty significant, and goes above and beyond any typical positional adjustments made for catchers.
So what does this all mean for Jesus Montero? Let’s see…First up, here's Montero's 2010 CAIRO projection as a catcher.
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: Park and position-adjusted batting runs above replacement level
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
In the interest of full disclosure, that projection is pretty optimistic. Some of his other projections are:
CHONE: .255/.296/.425, .314 wOBA.
ZiPS: .273/.315/.416, .320 wOBA.
In actuality though, CAIRO is not the most optimistic projection I've seen on Montero. The Hardball Times projections (which are not yet publically available) have him projected at .291/.342/.501, .345 wOBA.
So if CAIRO's the baseline, then CHONE says he'd be seven runs worse over 500 PAs, ZiPS says he'd be four runs worse, and the Hardball Times projection says he'd be seven runs better. Since we're really just comparing Montero to himself, the projection we use isn't that important right now, so I'll stick with CAIRO.
So looking at the offense from a catcher being more valuable, if Montero's projected CAIRO baseline would be worth 17 runs above a replacement level catcher over 500 PAs, if we moved that same offense to LF it'd be worth close to a win less overall. However, if we assume that he can play more frequently as a LF, he can gain some of that value back. If we then also consider the fact that he may hit better by not playing catcher, he picks up some more value. If he can instead hit his 65% forecast and get 600 PAs, he's worth 19 BRAR in LF, compared to 17 BRAR in 500 PAs as a catcher.
Given the margin of error inherent in projections, I'd say a projected difference of 2 BRAR isn't very significant, and we can just say he'd probably be about equally valuable in either scenario.
So then the question becomes twofold. How would his defense look at either position? Frankly I'd be talking out of my ass if I tried to put numbers to that right now. Then the next question is, given the talent on hand in the organization, is catcher or left field the bigger area of need? Given the depth of the Yankee catching prospects in the minors right now as well as the dearth of outfield prospects, you could possibly make the argument that Montero in LF would fill a bigger need.
Of course, if he can't play the outfield it's moot. Or if he can't stick at catcher it's also moot.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
1) Jesus Montero, C, Grade A: I know that his position is up in the air, but I love this bat so much that I’m going to give him a straight Grade A. This is a Mike Piazza/Manny Ramirez type bat.
2) Austin Romine, C, Grade B: Not in Montero’s class as a hitter, but he’s not bad, should improve further, and is much better defensively.
3) Manny Banuelos, LHP, Grade B-: Borderline Grade B. Intriguing young lefty, undersized but has a very good arm and has performed quite well thus far.
4) Zach McAllister, RHP, Grade B-: Strike-throwing-ground-ball-generating-inning-gobbler with advanced pitching feel. A fifth starter, long reliever, or trade bait in New York.
5) Slade Heathcott, OF, Grade B-: Excellent tools, will have to see how his skills develop, and if he overcomes concerns about his makeup from high school.
Montero looks like he may have a chance for a cup of coffee in the bigs.
Happy New Year to everyone who doesn’t root for the Red Sox.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Jesus Montero, the Yankees big-time C prospect, has been promoted to Trenton. And when I say big-time, I also mean his size—6’4”, 225. He is right-handed.
He was batting .356/.406/.583 in Tampa.
Montero’s having a monster season. As a 19 year old, he’s put up an MLE of .283/.318/.428. While there’ are still legitimate concerns about his defense and his being able to stay at catcher, it looks like the bat is going to play anywhere.
Monday, November 10, 2008
1. Austin Jackson, of
2. Jesus Montero, c
3. Andrew Brackman, rhp
4. Austin Romine, c
5. Dellin Betances, rhp
6. Zach McAllister, rhp
7. Alfredo Aceves, rhp
8. Phil Coke, lhp
9. Mark Melancon, rhp
10. Bradley Suttle, 3b
I’m not really all that impressed by this list. Should I be?
Monday, September 1, 2008
Phil Coke was a “fringy prospect” until this season, says Mark Newman, the Yankees vice president of baseball operations. But Coke was the first name Newman uttered in a recent conversation about Yankee minor-leaguers who made significant strides this season.
“Now we think he’s a very good prospect,” Newman said. “He’s got his velocity to 94 (mph) and his slider has more depth and a late break.”
He’s made such strides that he will be called up to the Yankees today, when rosters expand.
Coke, 26, was mostly a starter at Double-A Trenton and went 9-4 with a 2.51 ERA before being promoted to Triple-A Scranton. He switched to the bullpen so the Yankees could manage the number of innings he pitched and see how his stuff translated to relieving. In 14 games at Scranton (one start), he’s 2-2 with a 4.67 ERA.
“He can start or relieve,” Newman said. “He’s got enough pitches to start because he also has a changeup. He’s certainly a possibility for the major-league team for next year.”
Coke debuted today against Detroit and looked pretty good I thought.
Newman also discusses Zach McAllister, Juan Miranda, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine in this article. Hat tip to Was Watching.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
#1 Austin Jackson—Preseason Rank: 2
(AA) 88G .274, 23(2B), 5(3B), 8HR, 52RBI, 45BB, 70K, 14SB
#2 Jesus Montero—Preseason Rank: 9
(Short-A) 85G .301, 23(2B), 9HR, 52RBI, 23BB, 51K, 1SB
#3 Jose Tabata—Preseason Rank: 3
(AA) 79G .248, 9(2B), 3HR, 36RBI, 26BB, 49K, 10SB
For the first time in years, the Yankees’ top prospects may not be pitchers.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Ian Kennedy’s Debut
The Good: Kennedy’s velocity was a bit better than the “high 80s” thrown around by some in the prospect analysis community. In actuality, the range on his fastball was 87-92, which is more in line with the reports from Pinstripes Plus than anywhere else, so kudos to Patrick, Frankie, and the rest of the guys over there. The average velocity of the 54 fastballs thrown was 90.5. In addition to showcasing solid-good velocity, Kennedy had great fastball command. The home plate ump was a bit inconsistent, on both sides, but Kennedy did a great job of hitting the corners with his fastball.
Ian also showed flashes with his Vulcan change. The movement to the pitch was a bit funky because he places the ball between his middle and ring finger, forming the V for Vulcan. This was the pitch that he was able to fool left-handers with. Overall, he did a good job with this pitch.
The Bad: Kennedy also flashed his slider, curveball, and sinker on Saturday. On this day, I would say the slider probably showed the most promise. Despite that, I don’t think any of these pitches looked especially great (Don, don’t kill me). While the pitches themselves showed promise, Kennedy left more than his fair share of them up in the zone, so his command wasn’t great with respect to this portion of his arsenal. Fortunately, the Devil Rays were not able to take advantage of this and he escaped largely unscathed.
The Verdict: I was very pleased with Kennedy’s debut and feel he showed enough to warrant another start. With Hughes’ current struggles, I wouldn’t mind if the Yankees kept the 5-man rotation in tact just to have a better idea of who has the hot hand heading into October between the two rookies. I think Hughes has more long-term potential, but if at the end of the month the Yankees are in the playoffs and Kennedy has performed superior, he should get the post-season nod.
-The minor league season is, essentially, over. Austin Jackson was promoted to AAA as a reward for his great year and Marcos Vechionacci to AA as a reward for his hot finish. Both players will, almost assuredly, start next year for Trenton. AA will have its best collection of position player talent in quite some time between those two and Jose Tabata.
-The GCL Yankees won their league championship for what seems like the 12th time in the last 4 years. Jesus Montero, who very quietly had a good season, killed the ball in a small playoff sample. He hit .280/.366/.421 in 107 regular season ABs and then went 6 for 16 with a double, 2 homers, 2 walks and 4 Ks. Just a very solid year for a guy some wanted to write off so soon after being regarded as the best prospect on the international market.
-On a final, “funny” note, here at RLYW and within the Yankee blogosphere we’re all worried about Phil Hughes’ velocity. Hughes has been pitching at 90-93, touching 94. Within these same communities, we’re also all pleased with Kennedy’s velocity during his first game where he was 89-92. Over in Red Sox land, everyone is in love with Clay Bucholz. Bucholz is sitting 90-93. I’m not going to ignore that more troubling than Hughes’ velocity range has been his tendency to tire quickly, but for those who are dismayed regarding Hughes’ overall velocity…please calm down. Now, if only he could regain some feel for the change, we wouldn’t even have to have this discussion.
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