April 1, 2010

Jesus Montero’s time to shine

Catchers Jorge Posada and Brandon Laird were not available today due to minor injuries. This should have opened the door for Jesus Montero, but Joe Girardi opted for P.J. Pilittere instead.

I’m only kidding — well, sort of. Let’s think about Montero’s timetable for a bit. He’ll open this year in Triple-A Scranton as the starting catcher. He’s 20 years old.

According to just about every scout I’ve read, Montero’s bat is ready for major league pitching. His defense might not be on schedule, but I say that shouldn’t be holding him back. Girardi and Tony Pena were both solid defensive catchers so Montero would be in the perfect learning environment.

A lot of fans with prospects are hesitant to call a top prospect up early, especially if it’s not necessary. But it’s not too early. There are a few players out there comparable to Montero that began their careers young. Miguel Cabrera is one. If Montero really has as big a bat as scouts are saying, I think the Yankees would be wasting his talents if he doesn’t take the next spot that opens up.

As long as Posada, Mark Teixeira and Nick Johnson avoid major injuries, Montero will most likely spend the year in Scranton. If Teixeira or Johnson get injured, either of those two can take over at first and Montero could be the top candidate to fill in at DH.

Currently, Francisco Cervelli is the backup, but I don’t think anyone believes he is Posada’s successor. Montero certainly has a chance to be that guy. I say the kid should take over for Cervelli by the All-Star break.

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