"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects

Baseball America unveiled their Top 100 Prospect list today.

Six Yankees made the list:

3. Jesus Montero, c
30. Gary Sanchez, c
41. Manny Banuelos, lhp
43. Dellin Betances, rhp
78. Andrew Brackman, rhp
98. Austin Romine, c

In terms of sheer number of prospects, this is the best showing for the organization since 1999, when the Bombers also placed six in the top 100 (including SS Alfonso Soriano and 3B Drew Henson).

Montero’s #3 ranking is the highest for any Yankee prospect since Joba Chamberlain was the #3 prospect in 2008.  Montero was 38th on the 2009 list, and fourth last year.

In 2010, the Yanks placed only two names on this list (Montero and Romine).

Read more about the BA 100 here.

(photo: NY Daily News)

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Prospects  Yankees

Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT


1 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 23, 2011 4:43 pm

Ok, so I've been wanting to ask this for awhile, re: Montero: how is it we have a young catching prospect who can't catch?

How does that happen, exactly? And is that normal?
If his bat is that damned good and his catching that damned lousy, why is he a catcher? Shouldn't they just teach to play left field or something?

We're talking about one of two or three positions on the field where defense is especially important.

Please advise!

2 monkeypants   ~  Feb 23, 2011 4:55 pm

[1] He's the number three prospect in baseball...what more do you want? And why in heavens name would you want to convert him to LF? Just to lower his value? He is a potential Mike Piazza. I'll take that offensive-defensive trade off any day of the week and twice for a double header.

3 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 23, 2011 5:40 pm

[2] And lets be honest, its not like he'd be replacing Johnny Bench defensively,

4 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 23, 2011 5:59 pm

[2] Well, first of all, I don't think it's too much to ask a player to hit AND play his position adequately. From the reports I read, he does not, in fact, play the position adequately.

It's really more of a general question about how a person can get to this level and be bad at his position. I keep hearing that he's actually bad at it, not simply mediocre.

It's really a question of`why they would let someone be a catcher at any level who is not a good catcher.

It's just hard for me to not ask how we got to a point where we have catchers who can't catch.

Is that really so much to ask for? I mean, if he's all about the bat, why not just make him a DH and get a real catcher?


5 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 23, 2011 6:11 pm

[3] And that's also kind of my point. Having watched how brutal a brutal catcher can be, shouldn't we be at least slightly concerned? I don't know how bad this guy really is, obviously, so presumably he's likely, with some instruction, to be better than Jorgie was last year, but still, why set the bar so low on such an important position?

What if he can't block balls in the dirt? That can have a HUGE impact on a pitcher's effectiveness, an impact that can potentially be as great as any impact his bat has in the lineup.

If a pitcher is afraid to throw a breaking ball in some spots, that allows opposing hitters to tee off.

I'm not saying anything we don't already know, I know, just wondering why the bar seems to have dropped so low in this regard.

6 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 23, 2011 6:39 pm

Also, I'm probably reacting as a coach. Some of the kids I coach clearly don't care about fielding nearly so much as they do about hitting and act put out that I demand excellence in the field as well as at the plate.

So I wonder more generally about what this guy's inability to play his position at this level says about A) his attitude (could be nothing, could be a lot) and B) the overall culture of coaching players at all levels.

Is defense neglected?

It's my usual question about why so many major league baseball players appear to lack fundamentals.

7 cult of basebaal   ~  Feb 23, 2011 6:43 pm

t’s really more of a general question about how a person can get to this level and be bad at his position. I keep hearing that he’s actually bad at it, not simply mediocre.

It’s really a question of`why they would let someone be a catcher at any level who is not a good catcher.

You root for a team that has played Derek Jeter at SS his entire career, if this is a difficult question, it's only because you're being obtuse.

8 RIYank   ~  Feb 23, 2011 6:49 pm

Weeping, what the hell are you talking about?
Catching is very, very hard. Almost nobody in the world can do it. Almost nobody in baseball can do it. This is why catchers are such bad hitters (because out of all the human beings in the world who can hit a real curve ball, almost none has the ability to catch).
So, yeah, it's asking too much. Jeez.

9 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 23, 2011 7:32 pm

All right, I guess that's that, then.

10 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 23, 2011 10:05 pm

[4] Before you get too upset, remember that Montero is still only 20. When Posada was 20, he couldn't catch either...in fact, he was playing 2B.

It remains to see how well Montero will develop behind the plate, but considering he has some experience at the position, it would behoove the Yankees to see how far along he can come.

Also, Montero doesn't have to become Johnny Bench in order to be a major asset behind the plate. If he can develop into even a slightly below average defender, his bat could make him one of the most valuable players in the game.

11 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 23, 2011 10:07 pm

[6] If Montero had a poor attitude and only cared about hitting, my guess is he would have abandoned catching by now. After all, why bother strapping on all that gear and doing all that hard work when you already have a bat that many people project has the potential to pull down big bucks?

12 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 12:19 am

[10] [11] Thanks, william. My question isn't so much about his value to the team as it is about the larger issue, namely, how a player can manifest such a discrepancy between fielding and hitting and in particular, how a player who evidently isn't a good catcher is encouraged to remain a catcher.

How are catchers chosen?
At what age?
How much influence do coaches have, at any level?

The same goes for any position, of course, but especially for the one defensive position that really demands a unique skill-set. It's just such a specialized position that it's odd to hear that at this stage of a player's career there are serious doubts about whether he will ever be able to master it.

Maybe Montero will, maybe he won't, but it's just odd (at least to me) to see such a vaunted prospect have an equally vaunted hole in his game. It's not just an outfielder with a weak arm we're talking about.

13 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 12:21 am

And my other question really was a general one: at what level of incompetence does one seriously consider moving a player from a position, especially a twenty-year old kid.

14 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 12:22 am

And yes, william, it's equally plausible that his incompetence speaks as much to his drive as to his lack thereof. That's a very good point.

15 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 12:30 am

And yes, I'm fine with "slightly below average," of course. But he's not even there yet, which is my concern. Serious doubts have been expressed by scouts. Now, you can argue whether those doubts are credible but if so, there really is cause for concern about his ever becoming whatever we would all accept in a catcher. I mean, really, if he's brutal, do we just shrug and suck it up? Maybe we do, but I just want to be clear about what we're talking about.

16 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 12:31 am

I don't want to go into the WS with a bad catcher.

17 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 24, 2011 8:34 am

Players 6'4", 225lbs (like Montero) or more who have caught in the majors, by games played:

THAT'S why he probably won't succeed as a catcher ... and at age 20, he probably still has some growth in him.

18 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 11:22 am

[17] Thanks, Diane. So again, it's back to my original question: how is it that someone apparently ill-suited to catch is encouraged to catch rather than simply teaching him a more suitable position while he's young? Isn't that part of coaching, at all levels? To find the best fit for your players' abilities?

19 Eric   ~  Feb 24, 2011 11:54 am

Montero is only 20? Cut the guy some slack.

I wonder how quickly the Royals will get rid of their *nine* players on this list. They can't seem to keep anyone these days.

20 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 1:17 pm

[19] I'm really not attacking him so much as asking larger questions about how it's possible for the system to produce a catcher who can't catch.

It's not a rhetorical question, I'm really wondering about player development, every step of the way. I'm really curious about the phenomenon of a player whose bat is unquestioned but whose catching is, given, especially, how specialized a position it is.

How are the decisions made? Who's in charge?

Really, sincere questions, not carping ones.

21 cult of basebaal   ~  Feb 25, 2011 2:16 pm

[20] just for you weeping, just for you.


catchers take the longest to become ready for Major League action. A lot of this likely has to do with the fact that a catcher has to learn more skills than any other player, needing to learn how to use the bat, field a complicated position, and run a pitching staff by calling games. As such, you end up with catchers who can hit but are held back to learn the nuances of their position, or players who are natural backstops but take years to develop enough proficiency with the stick to survive in the majors. Occasionally you find a catching prospect who is fairly balanced and strong enough in both facets of the game to force his way to the majors at an extremely early age, and those tend to be the prospects at the top of the popular prospect rankings. Rarely do you encounter catchers with such incredible skills in one facet of the game that they force themselves to the majors before the other portions of their skill set are remotely ready.

Jesus Montero presents this unique problem. According to most, his defense is not good enough to man the position at this time. As such, he probably should spend more time in the minors to hone his craft, as most of his catching brethren do. However, his bat is so special that it is forcing him to the majors at age 21, well before his defense has had a chance to go through the typical development that most catchers are afforded. While other clubs often deal with this sort of issue through a position change, the Yankees seem intent on giving Montero every opportunity to remain behind the plate.

Yankee management is doing the right thing by giving Montero an opportunity to win a major league roster spot, as a bat of his caliber would be wasted sitting in the minor leagues waiting for his defense to improve.

You're welcome.

22 cult of basebaal   ~  Feb 25, 2011 2:16 pm


feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver