Key Stats: We only had a really small sample of Montero this past season, but that sample gave us a lot to be excited about. Four homers in 18 games paved the way for a .269 ISO, and a ridiculous BABIP of .400 aided his .328 AVG. He struck out almost 25% of the time, but a jump in whiffs isn’t out of the ordinary for a player moving from the minors to the bigs and I would expect that number to decrease next season.
Skeptics Say: At this point the only fault I can find with Montero is he doesn’t have a position in fantasy except for the dreaded UTL. He is a young player so he may not give us the consistency that we might see from a veteran, but baseball is a game of streaks anyway so we can’t hold that against him.
Peer Comparison: Despite the recent influx of talent at catcher, between the emphasis on defensive play and injuries, it’s a thin position in fantasy. Gone are the days where it’s only Mauer, McCann or V-Mart, there are a legitimate 6 or 7 guys you can feel good about having on your roster. Montero only played in 18 games last year, but we can sorta expand and play that fun “on pace to” game and compare him to some of the top guys at the position currently. Lucky for us, 18 games is 1/9th of a full season, so that makes the math easy.
Mike Napoli: .320 AVG, 30 HR, 72 R, 75 RBI, 1.045 OPS
Alex Avila: .295 AVG, 19 HR, 63 R, 82 RBI, .895 OPS
Brian McCann: .270 AVG, 24 HR, 51 R, 71 RBI, .817 OPS
Jesus Montero: .328 AVG, 36 HR, 81 R, 108 RBI, .996 OPS
Now obviously that’s pretty crude projecting as simply taking his numbers from 18 games and compounding them over a full season isn’t ever going to yield exact results, but it’s impressive to see what he did for a “full season” compared to 3 other guys anyone would be happy to have on their squads. It’s a bit much to expect the above line from him over a full season (at least this season) but something not too far off from that wouldn’t be surprising.
Team Outlook: This is where things get a little dicey. Montero only played in three games this past season as a catcher, so he’ll be starting off with Utility only eligibility. Russell Martin is still going to be catching on a regular basis. We don’t have to worry about Posada DH’ing since he has come out and said that his career in NY is over. According to Yahoo! Sports Fantasy position eligibility a player needs 5 starts or 10 appearances to gain eligibility at a position. I would find it hard to believe that Montero won’t get 5 starts behind the plate, but I’m not sure how long it will take to get there. Looking at a player with his potential upside though the choice to try and grab him, play him at the UTL spot and wait it out until he gets that “C” next to his name should be easy. The Yanks have a great offense, score a ton of runs and play in a generally hitter friendly park.
What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline – Not in the Top 40 Catchers; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com – Not in Top 25 Catchers, #134 in the Top 250 Players; RotoChamp – #6 Catcher and #85 in the Top 300 Players.
Projection: Small sample size makes it a bit tough to project how he will do this season, but based on what we have seen, Montero will not be going undrafted anywhere this season.
.280 Avg, 25 HR, 75 Runs, 90 RBI, .340 OBP, .842 OPS in 560 ABs