Jesus Montero 2013 Checklist
Remember Jesus Montero? He’s a guy the Mariners pay money, and he’s played for them, and he was a big deal when the Mariners got him for Michael Pineda. He’s 23 years old. Let’s review what he’s accomplished this season!
Montero batted 110 times this year with the Mariners, posting a .590 OPS that puts him below Endy Chavez. He has a .686 OPS over the equivalent of a few weeks in the minors, and it’s not like Montero lit the world on fire a year ago. Statistically, it’s been a bad season for Jesus Montero.
Position change: check
The Mariners said a lot over the offseason about how much faith they had in Montero as a catcher, but it didn’t take long before he was essentially splitting time with Kelly Shoppach, and then the Mariners announced that Montero wouldn’t catch anymore. He’s trying to be a first baseman, and he’s really basically a DH, and he’s 23.
Significant injury: check
Montero required knee surgery for a torn meniscus!
PED suspension: apparently check
From Jon Heyman, and many others:
A-Rod is the headline-grabbing name, but the other players with 50-game bans looming are Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera and minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Fautino de los Santos, Cesar Puello and Norbeto Martin.
We knew that Montero’s name showed up in the paperwork, but at first we didn’t know how much we ought to make of that. Now it’s looking virtually certain that Montero will be suspended for his Biogenesis involvement, as will a handful of others. We don’t know what Montero did, exactly, but we can conclude it was bad, and we can assume MLB has plenty of evidence.
About the only thing Montero hasn’t done to diminish his value is commit some kind of felony. Otherwise, he’s ticked off the whole list. He’s done poorly at the plate, he’s done poorly in the field, he hasn’t been completely healthy, and he’s getting busted by baseball for breaking the rules, even though he should’ve known better. It’s not fair to describe Montero as a catastrophe — there can’t really be baseball catastrophes, in this vein — but as careers go, this has been a disastrous several months. We can’t even know what to make of Montero’s famous raw power, since it now appears he’s been a user of performance-enhancing drugs.
Top prospects have busted before. They bust all the time. People remind you of this every year when they talk about potential blockbuster trades. Delmon Young has a career WAR below zero. It’s beginning to look like Jesus Montero is a real bust. But seldom do top prospects bust this quickly. Between the 2011-2012 seasons, Baseball America ranked Montero as the sixth-best prospect in the league, ahead of guys like Jurickson Profar, Shelby Miller, Manny Machado, and Gerrit Cole. He was, that recently, can’t-miss. It was always a possibility that Montero could bust — he was high-upside and high-risk — but it’s not even the end of 2013 and I can’t really imagine what Montero would look like as a significant contributor. He’s not going to do anything in the field or on the bases, and he’s probably never going to walk a lot. He basically needs to slug in the .500s to be an average value, and so far he’s slugged .396.
Montero’s trade value is almost completely shot, I have to imagine. Now, I figure the Mariners will get some calls in the winter, with other teams looking to buy low. Sensible, that. I’d try to buy low, too, if Montero belonged to someone else, and he’s not worth completely giving up on. You never know, and scouty-types loved him for a reason. But in January 2012, the Mariners basically got Montero for Michael Pineda, and in July 2013, Montero’s all but forgotten when people discuss the Mariners’ crop of young organizational talent. Some top prospects take the trail down the cliff. Montero just stepped off the edge.