January 29, 2011

My plan for Jesus Montero in 2011

The Yankees have one of baseball’s top prospects in Jesus Montero, and this season is a pivotal part of his development. It’s the season that he’s expected to get major league playing time, but nobody knows how much he’ll get or whether he’ll start the year in Scranton or New York.

The plan for Montero will be made sometime toward the end of spring training, but we’re all getting anxious at this point and there’s no harm in thinking about how Montero’s season will play out now.

Before I get into my plan, I want to share what Brian Cashman said about Montero recently (my emphasis).

The minor leagues is (where you) work out your problems, and he’s certainly closing the gap. He’s not there yet, but he’s pretty damn close. We believe he’s better than some starting catchers, defensively, in the big leagues right now.

Russell Martin is the starting catcher — we already knew that — but the backup job is up for grabs, Cashman said. The options are Montero, Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine.

My idea is to open the season with Cervelli as the backup and then promote Montero once he gets hot in Triple-A. Then, if his bat stays hot in the majors, maybe have him catching two starters opposed to just one, or give him extra licks as a DH.

I feel giving Montero the backup job right from the get-go might put too much pressure on him to perform. But that’s just my opinion; some prospects like Albert Pujols started on Opening Day while others like Robinson Cano joined the team in May.

Do you agree? Or do you have another idea for how to handle Montero in 2011?

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