Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is Domonic Brown or Jesus Montero Worth Monitoring At Triple-A?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s not odd to find a struggling young player back at Triple-A.  The question is, no matter how highly touted or if they have performed in the past or not, can they rediscover themselves?  It’s not always easy to answer, but let’s take a look at two players who could potentially bring fantasy appeal if they do:

 

Domonic Brown – Philadelphia Phillies
Remember him? We all know about his 2013 breakout, swiftly followed by his 2014 bust. What about 2015? What does the future hold? That’s a hard question to answer, though right now he appears to be finding his footing.

After starting the season on the DL, the Phillies ultimately optioned him back to Triple-A after his rehab. While he started slowly he’s warmed up of late, going 12-38 with 0 HR, 9 RBI, 2 R and 4 SB over his past 9 games. Is that enough to excite us?

He is hitting the ball hard, with a 25.4% line drive rate (league average is 21.3%), and he’s making consistent contact, with a 14.3% strikeout rate. The problem lies in the power, more specifically the complete lack of it.

Even if we wanted to look past the fact that he hasn’t hit a home run, he isn’t even doubling (he has two, to be exact). That’s a significant red flag, especially considering that 12 of his 27 HR in 2013 came in one month (and 18 in a two month span). It’s certainly beginning to look like that production was more aberration than anything.

Throw in the likelihood of a platoon (.352 career SLG against southpaws) and the risk outweighs the reward.

Verdict – Pass

 

Jesus Montero – Seattle Mariners
Remember he was once considered one of the elite prospects in the game and was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Michael Pineda to New York. It’s been a roller coaster ride, but if it wasn’t for the recent hot streak from Logan Morrison there’s a chance Montero may already have been back in the Majors.

At the same time, has his strong start been more luck than anything?

Over his first 102 AB he’s hitting .304 with 3 HR and 15 RBI. It looks solid, until you get into the specifics. The average is buoyed by a .364 BABIP, likely unsustainable regardless. The fact that he’s done that despite a 12.5% line drive rate (league average is 19.9%) and you know things are going to regress significantly.

Now you add in the relative lack of power, based on playing in the Pacific Coast League and his elevated outfield fly ball rate (38.8% vs. a league average of 26.1%) and the questions mount. Just to add fuel to the fire, he owns a 21.0% strikeout rate vs. a 1.9% walk rate, so clearly he isn’t showing much patience at the plate.

The bottom line? The numbers are nice, but there are far too many questions facing him. Maybe he figures it out, but there’s a much better chance his numbers fall off a cliff. Throw in a few prospects who could leap frog him to the Majors and there’s no reason to consider him.

Verdict – Pass

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Minor League Central

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