Blocked Prospects: Jesus Montero

In 20-year-old catcher Jesus Montero, the Yankees have what is arguably their best offensive prospect since Derek Jeter. But there's a problem: they don't have an obvious place to put him.

Both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein ranked Montero as the 4th best prospect in the game, while ESPN's Keith Law had him 10th. He is clearly one of the game's brightest young minor leaguers, but as Baseball America said in their 2010 Handbook, "the Yankees no longer talk abut him as an every day major league catcher" because he "is somewhat stiff and lacks agility behind the plate." Despite his defensive woes, Montero hit .337/.389/.562 with 17 homers in 92 games across two levels last year. His season ended prematurely because of a broken finger suffered while he was behind the dish.

In most other organizations, Montero would simply move out from behind the plate and learn how to play first base. Of course, the Yankees already have Mark Teixeira penciled into the position for the next seven years. A corner outfield spot may be a possibility, but scouts are skeptical because his lack of athleticism might not allow him to be anything better than below average out there. Designated hitter is less than ideal since he's so young, not to mention that they'll need the spot for some of the older players on the team's roster.

If they so choose, the Yankees could look to trade Montero for a piece to help the big league roster, something they're known to do with their prospects. In fact, they offered Montero to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay straight up last year. Jorge Posada is under contract through 2011 and isn't getting any younger, so they could try to ease Montero in as a back-up catcher/part-time DH at first. Montero started the season at Triple-A, and it's worth remembering that he'll be just 27-years-old when Teixeira's contract is up.


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