Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Minor Moves: Montero

Per Matt Eddy at Baseball America the Rays have signed outfielder Lucas Montero. The 26 year-old had spent his entire professional career in the Cleveland Indians organization after signing with the Tribe as an undrafted free agent as a 19 year-old in January, 2004. He became a minor league free agent this past October.

A switch hitter, Montero batted .260/.354/.373 in 1562 AB's over five seasons with the Indians. In 2010 he split time between Kinston (Carolina League, A+) and Akron (Eastern League, AA). His promotion to the Aeros on July 29th marked the highest level he reached during his Indians career. While his offensive stats aren't overly impressive, he did steal 149 bases over the five seasons, including a career high 60 steals in 2008. Defensively he has played all three outfield positions, seeing the most time in left.

Prior to the 2009 season, Tony Lastoria of Indians Prospect Insider rated Montero the #57 Indian's prospect on his Top 100 list with these comments:
He is very athletic, but is very raw still as a baseball player since he did not start playing baseball until he was 15-years old. He is a versatile outfielder who can play all three outfield positions, and has a nice speed/power combo at the plate and on the bases. He is really strong for his size, and has a lot of pop off his bat and can drive the ball. He has an aggressive approach at the plate, and is at his best once he gets on base where his plus speed is a nuisance to pitchers where his skills and tools as a runner shine. Montero needs to do a little better job of slowing things down at the plate so he can work on getting on-base more consistently. He also has a tendency to lose control of his swing and swing wildly at balls out of the zone.
He played this winter in the Dominican Winter League, batting .282 in 43 games with a homerun and eight stolen bases. Expect Montero to begin 2011 with the Montgomery Biscuits.

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