Updated: Dec 16, 2018
Prospect #2: 3B, Elehuris Montero
Palm Beach Cardinals
International Signing in 2014
This kid is only 19-years-old and nothing in the world makes sense to me anymore
THE QUICK WRITE UP
The concern with Montero is his defense at third, which has been sub-par for two state-side seasons in a row. More than likely, Montero is a 1B. However, his still only 19-years-old and there's no reason to pull the plug on him as a 3B until you absolutely have to. He's progressively gotten better defensive with the season, so maybe Elehuris has turned the corner. Only time will tell. His K rate and BB rate don't look too impressive on the stat sheet, but he's slowly taken those numbers in their proper-progressive direction. This 19-year-old has been exceptional this season at Peoria. In the past, and even this season, the Cardinals have been aggressive with some of their younger hitting prospects with good contact tools. Magneuris Sierra, Edmundo Sosa, Dylan Carlson, and Jonathan Machado all come to mind. While most of those players struggled to the point that they needed a break or a demotion, Elehuris Montero just raked and raked and raked until everyone took notice. This time last year, the advanced hitting Carlson's stock rose because he wasn't being embarrassed in the advanced Midwest League. Montero, on the other hand, is embarrassing the Midwest League as we speak. This isn't a fluke. It's not some flash in the pan that will go away. This is "The Montero Movement."
Elehuris does a fantastic job of "staying nside of the ball" as Albert Pujols used to say. What I like most about Montero is how his approach has changed throughout the season. At the beginning of 2018, he was a bit of a free swinger that would gladly sacrifice a K for a big hit. Now, you see that the big swings come in hitters counts. At the same time, you see a more controlled approach in pitchers counts with an emphasis on still driving the ball. Montero does a tremendous job of opening up and turning on inside pitches. He does an OK job of jabbing at the outside stuff, but it always seems a little more defensive than anything. The concern with Montero is his defense at third, which has been subpar for two state-side seasons in a row. More than likely, Montero is a 1B. However, his still only 19-years-old and there's no reason to pull the plug on him as a 3B until you absolutely have to. He's progressively gotten better defensive with the season, so maybe Elehuris has turned the corner. Only time will tell. His K rate and BB rate don't look too impressive on the stat sheet, but he's slowly taken those numbers in their proper-progressive direction. Montero is a monster of a man and he is absolutely the next big international prospect in the organization.
*UPDATED ON 8/23/2018*
Well, Montero has been exactly as advertised since receiving his promotion to Palm Beach. His strike out totals are up and his walk rate is down, but every thing else is track positively. Those numbers will course-correct soon enough. Following a historically good season in the Midwest League that earned him MVP honors, Montero is just months away from busting on to the national scene in a huge way.
WHY TO GET EXCITED
EVERYTHING. GET EXCITED ABOUT EVERYTHING
No, for real. GET EXCITED ABOUT EVERYTHING
I mean it; EVERYTHING
Montero has elite bat speed.
He has above average plate coverage.
He can turn on the inside fastball.
He stays back on the ball and he can punch an outside breaking ball.
For being built like a giant from Game of Thrones, he's extremely quick. He's not going to steal bases, but he's gonna giddy-up around them.
He has untapped power. He has fourteen home runs in 385 at-bats at the moment that I am writing this. That's a solid amount, but it's not overwhelming. I believe that Montero has 30 home run power in there.
Speaking of "in there", Montero is build like a "Brick shit-house", as people born in 1955 would say. He's solid. He's muscular. He's huge. He's developed. This teenager is built like a damn MAN.
As the season has progressed, Montero has progressed. He's become a better defender. He's become a more disciplined hitter. He better understands how he's going to be attacked and he better understands how to hit because of it.
In the past, The Midwest League has been tough on teenagers that the Cardinals have tried to promote aggressively. It ate Magneuris Sierra and Jonathan Machado alive. Dylan Carlson held his own there last season, but he had as average of a season as a player can have in that league. Montero has taken the league by storm. He's anchored the Peoria line up. Teams are careful with him. He's being treated by the opposition like he's something MORE than the norm. Rightfully so, because he is something more than the norm.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
There are only two reasons to be cautious, other than that he's still only 19 and anything can happen, of course
First, he might be a defensive liability. He's probably best suited for first, but he hasn't gotten better at third as the season has progressed. In my mind, ONLY DEFENSIVELY, he reminds me of Albert Pujols. He does the thing at third right now and he'd probably be able to get away with it on a short time line, but you'd probably rather have him at first.
Second, even though it's gotten progressively better throughout the season, there is strike out concern with Montero. At one point on the season it was up around the 25% mark. It's down to 20% right now, but I'd expect it to stay high as he progresses aggressively through the system.
IF we are going to be picky about it, there's always a concern that a kid that is the size of Montero ends up breaking down sooner rather than later, but it's not something that I'm marginally worried about at this very moment.
I HATE DOING THESE DAMN THINGS AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
Look, Montero is as physically gifted as any 19-year-old that I've seen come through the system. He's special. His bat is special. I told the Prospects after Dark group chat that I believe he's going to be a first base version of Yasiel Puig. That's probably his 20% ceiling-outcome. As our good friend Graham predicts (Hi Graham), I love the idea of Montero's 5% ultimate-ceiling being something similar to Aramis Ramirez. This kid has the potential, if everything goes exactly correct, to be a perennial all-star.
Thanks to Fangraphs for the stats and knowledge.
Thanks For Reading!!