Montero, Adams, and McAllister
Since this deal seems all but official, here’s a rundown on the three guys the M’s are reported to be getting back.
Jesus Montero is 20-years-old, currently a catcher, and one of the best hitting prospects in the minors. Before the season, Baseball America ranked him the fourth best prospect in the game, behind Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, and Mike Stanton. Pretty heady company. He’s struggled a bit in Triple-A, but his numbers for a player his age aren’t bad, and he’s been killing it the last month or so. When BA did their mid-season update, Montero ranked fifth, two spots ahead of Dustin Ackley and six spots ahead of Michael Pineda. He’s a premium prospect, no doubt.
His calling card is his bat. He’s a high contact line drive slugger, far more developed offensively than most players his age. He’s a big guy at 6’4 and stocky, so while he’s not going to fill out and get stronger, more power could come as he learns how to get some loft under his swing. He doesn’t walk a lot, but he’s not a Jose Lopez hack either. He’s aggressive because he’s got good bat control and can make solid contact with pitches across the strike zone. Vladimir Guerrero comparisons are not completely absurd, though are clearly the absolute best case scenario. In terms of just pure offense, Montero probably has the most upside of any prospect in the game. If you were to take one guy not currently in the big leagues as the most likely to league the lead in OPS at some point in his career, you’d take Montero.
He’s not perfect, though. He’s just not much of an athlete, kind of a soft-bodied type who doesn’t move all that well. His footwork isn’t great, and his receiving needs a lot of work. Very few guys his size can stick behind the plate, and the ones who can are much better athletes than Montero is. I’d put the odds of him having a long major league career at catcher at something like five percent. I think he’s a first baseman long term, and the M’s may be best off just making that switch sooner than later. I know its exciting to think about his potential as an offensive catcher, given the M’s woes back there right now, but it’s probably unrealistic to expect him to be able to handle the position. Remember, Miguel Cabrera was a shortstop in the minors, but leaving him there wouldn’t have been the best idea either. Guys play positions early in their career that they can’t handle. It’s part of how they develop. And, therefore, I don’t think we should view Montero as a catcher.
So, to me, that makes him the Mariners first baseman of the future, and a guy who could be ready at some point next year. If they convert him right away, a solid year of work learning how to play first base and get reps over there could allow him to be in the M’s line-up next summer as a 21-year-old, and the bat should play up pretty quickly. As a right-hander, he’s not the ideal clean-up hitter for the M’s, but he’s not strictly a pull power guy and should be able to succeed even with the park.
As for Adams, he’s a performance-better-than-his-tools type, who has hit well for the last few years despite underwhelming physical abilities. He doesn’t have a ton of power or speed, but he has a good approach, makes good contact, and has produced most of the way through the minors. I’d peg him more as a potential utility infielder than an everyday guy, though he could prove me wrong and lay claim to a starting job if he keeps hitting. He’ll have a hard time beating out Dustin Ackley for the second base job long term, though, and third base belongs to Chone Figgins starting next year. But, he could get to the majors before Ackley and have a few months to establish himself as the team’s second baseman, which could then give them options going forward.
McAllister is an interesting guy, and probably a better throw-in than I expected. As a 22-year-old right-hander, he’s had a rough year in Triple-A, but has had better success in the past. He pounds the strike zone with average stuff, and while his GB% is low this year, he’s been more of a sinker specialist in years past. He’s also shown an ability to get LH hitters out, which gives him a chance to stick in the rotation. In some ways, he’s similar to Doug Fister, but with more velocity, less change-up, and a better breaking ball. He’s not a high upside guy, but as we’ve seen, strike-throwers in Safeco with a good defense can be useful pieces. He needs more time to develop, but could be a potential #5 starter down the line, or perhaps a solid middle reliever.
Overall, it’s hard to argue with what the M’s are getting. This package is light years ahead of the one they gave up to get Lee, and gives them a legitimate potential star and a couple of solid young role players. This deal is better than the rumored Hicks/Ramos deal from a few days ago. This deal is better than pretty much any of the rumored deals.
The Mariners did very well here.