George A. King III and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported
that the Yankees have informed Jorge Posada that he will get the majority of his playing time at DH in 2011.
Right off the bat, this means that Posada should get more at-bats in 2011 as he avoids the wear and tear of catching every day. I say should because at his age (39) and with his injuries over the last few seasons, nothing is guaranteed.
Let’s not just assume that Posada will be more productive with more at-bats in 2011. Sometimes the transition from an everyday player to a DH does not work out (see: Burrell, Pat). Posada is a career .233/.331/.388 hitter in 291 career at-bats as a DH.
The real impact this move makes is the opening of a spot for Yankees’ top prospect Jesus Montero.
Montero was universally seen as the Yankees top prospect heading into the 2010 season and Baseball America had him ranked as the fourth best prospect in baseball. The combination of top-end power and ability to hit for AVG have many prospect experts touting his bat as big league ready even at the extremely young age of 20. Unlike most power hitting prospects, Montero has managed to limit his strikeouts at every level while improving his walk rate from double-A through triple-A.
There is one glaring weakness in Montero’s game, however. I have not read a single scouting report that describes Montero’s catching abilities as anything but below average. Some reports even suggest that DH may be his inevitable position at the big league level.
The Yankees, I’m sure, are aware of Montero’s issues behind the plate, but they have stuck with a defensively declining Jorge Posada for several years now.
Fantasy GM’s need to have Jesus Montero on their radar and keep an eye on his status this spring. If he breaks camp with the Yankees, he has a good chance to hit 20-plus home runs and be a fringe top 10 fantasy catcher in 2011.