Montero Settling In At Double-A

Montero has three straight multi-hit games

At the young age of nineteen years old, Jesus Montero is one of the most highly touted prospects in all of baseball. The 6-foot-4, 225 pound catcher is hitting .335 this season with 15 home runs and 63 RBIs in 83 games with Tampa and Trenton.

Montero was signed when he was only sixteen years old, the age when most kids are worrying about making the cut for their high school team.

"It was unbelievable", he said, "like a dream come true."

The Venezuela native is currently one of the youngest players in recent seasons to play in Double-A, and is quickly moving his way to the top.

He started out hot in 2009 at single-A Tampa, hitting .356 with 37 RBIs in just 48 games. The fast start in 2009 followed a strong 2008 season in Charleston where he led the Yankees minor league organization in batting average (.326), runs (86), hits (171), and RBIs (87), while finishing fourth in home runs with 17. When Montero was promoted to the Eastern League, however, he had problems adjusting.

"I just had to learn to be patient", he said. "Now I'm swinging at the right pitches, and doing good."

Trenton Thunder manager Tony Franklin has taken many young players under his wing, and Jesus Montero is no different.

"I remember when he first came here he was swinging at everything", he said. "All young hitters have to become better hitters."

Montero is now hitting at a solid .308 with Trenton, and is settling in nicely. He continues to work on his swing, and of course, his defense.

New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman was on hand at the Eastern League All-Star Game, and had rave reviews for Montero.

"We're certainly excited about the bat", he said. "We think the fact that he has a chance now to remain behind that plate, that's a whole different animal there, a guy who can do that in the big leagues."

Montero is also the subject of many trade rumors, but Cashman seemed doubtful that anything would happen.

"He's one of the best hitting prospects in all of minor-league baseball", he said. "So of course his name's going to come up frequently. People have taken notice, without a doubt."

Montero showed no interest in the rumors, as he dealt the perfect, big league-type answer to the swarm of reporters interviewing him.

"I'm really focused on playing hard," he said. "And then, they're going to know what they're going to do with me one day."

The 2009 Eastern League All-Star Game is just one of the many honors that Montero has logged on his short but impressive resume. He has appeared in the All-Star Futures Game in both 2008 and 2009, going 1 for 2 in the 2008 Futures game played during the final season at Yankee Stadium in New York.

He also had a 15-game hitting streak in 2008 at Charleston, and a solo home run in his only at bat during the Yankees 2009 Spring Training where he appeared as a non-roster invitee. In 2007, Montero also contributed a game tying home run in the decisive game three of the Gulf Coast League playoffs.

With two years of minor league experience at four levels, Montero's age is no longer relevant at this point. He plans to let his bat do the talking in the second half with Trenton.

He will look to continue to his ultimate goal of playing in the big leagues, but will first have to deal with improving and enhancing his receiving skills, and developing his swing to major league standards.

With the Yankees standing pat so far, and not wanting to overpay for trade rumor subjects like Toronto's Roy Halladay, it is highly unlikely that Montero will be included in a trade this year, but instead will likely remain at Double-A Trenton.

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