Overall Jesus Montero posted a solid line in his first season in Seattle, hitting .260 with 15 HR over 515 AB. While those numbers were overshadowed some other rookies, like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, they are impressive none the less.
Usually we worry about young catchers producing at the plate, considering they have so much more on their plate (like managing a pitching staff). However, something interesting jumps out regarding Montero when you look at his splits…
He actually produced significantly better when playing defense as opposed to DHing! Just take a look:
- As a C – .310 with 10 HR and 32 RBI over 213 AB
- As a DH – .227 with 5 HR and 30 RBI over 300 AB
Significant, to say the least, and also not based an insignificant sample size. Before we get too involved in the numbers, let’s take a look at some of the underlying metrics:
- As a C – 16.5% strikeout rate, 23.5% line drive rate
- As a DH – 18.8% strikeout rate, 25.1% line drive rate
Those numbers obviously wouldn’t justify a drastic split. The difference was his BABIP, which was .331 as a catcher and a below average .265 as a DH.
The power is a little less easy to explain away, having posted an 18.9% HR/FB as a catcher and 5.8% mark while DHing. While we can’t use the excuse for his average, the idea of being more into the game could hold a little weight here. Or maybe it was just a fluke?
Regardless, Montero will see the bulk of his time behind the plate in 2013, thanks to the team jettisoning John Jaso and bringing in veterans like Kendrys Morales, Mike Morse, Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay (though Mike Zunino could change that at some point). Can he maintain the type of power he showed while catching last season? It’s not likely, as the wear and tear of catching regularly should take its toll.
That said, he is just 23-years old, has shown 20+ HR power in the minor leagues and the fences are being brought in at Safeco Field.
Is he going to hit 30+? Probably not, but it makes for a great wild prediction and is not out of the realm of possibilities…
Is he going to hit at least 25? Quite possibly.
Is he gong to hit 20? This seems like a virtual lock.
With the power burgeoning and the ability to hit the ball with authority, Montero should quickly climb the catching ranks. There is always the potential for a sophomore slump, but 2013 could be the full breakout. He’s a buy in all formats.
What are your thoughts of Montero? Is he a player you are buying into? Why or why not?
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