As fantasy baseball owners, we love catchers who can hit.
After all, who cares about defense in fantasy? If the Cardinals moved Albert Pujols behind the plate, it might be a nightmare -- but it could also create the best fantasy player ever. Think Joe Mauer, with a lot more power and 10 to 15 more stolen bases.
Mauer is a player to whom the No. 5 player on our countdown, the Yankees' Jesus Montero, is often compared. Not because of Montero's defensive abilities, which are improving but way behind the Twins' $184 million man.
The comparisons come from Montero's size (6-4, 225) and his bat -- two Mauer staples.
Will Montero be the next Mauer? Behind the plate, probably not. At the plate, he might hit almost as well, but with more power. It's why he cracked our top five (sorry, defense).
As we wrote in the first piece, we started this project with three rules of thumb: 1. Each player must be under 24 years old. 2. A position player has to have fewer than 100 at-bats in the majors, and a pitcher must have thrown fewer than 40 innings in the bigs. 3. The top 10 are ranked according to how effective we think they will be in fantasy baseball. The 2011 season would be nice, but we're more focused on how they will perform in the future and their staying power.
Up next: A player the Yankees almost traded to Seattle in 2010 as the key part of a proposed Cliff Lee deal.
5. Jesus Montero, C, Yankees
- Height, weight: 6-4, 225
- Bats/throws: Right/right
- Born: Nov. 28, 1989 (21 on opening day)
- Rank on Baseball America's top 100 for 2011: 3
Two quotes to remember
- "If he's a catcher, his value is enhanced, and we think he'll be a catcher." Yankees vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman, to the New York Daily News
- "He's one of the best we've had and he's as good as anybody we've had with the exception of Derek (Jeter). He can do the things Robbie Cano could do when he was young and has more power." Newman, also to the Daily News
Montero has been so good he is expected to open the 2011 season as Russell Martin's backup, helped in part by a broken foot suffered by catcher Francisco Cervelli in spring training.
Jorge Posada, an excellent example of the Yankees' offense-first catching mold, is in the final year of his contract and is expected to spend the majority of what could be his last season in New York as a designated hitter.
Martin likely isn't part of the Yankees' future, which could leave Montero in a full-time role as soon as 2012. Once he's there, we know he'll hit -- it's what he does.
In 1,501 at-bats in the minor leagues, Montero has batted .308 with 58 home runs, 258 RBI, 220 runs scored and an .867 OPS. He is such a threat at the plate he was the key piece of rumored trade packages for Lee and Roy Halladay -- prior to the pair being part of the Fantastic Four in Philadelphia.
The Yankees need starting pitching, and Montero would be the easiest way for them to get it. But he might be too good to trade.
And catchers who hit like Mauer, only with more power, might seem to be too good to be true.
Montero is said to be that impressive. Which is why we selfishly hope he stays behind the plate.
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NEXT: No. 4, Jeremy Hellickson
2011 fantasy baseball rankings:
Catchers, First basemen, Second basemen, Shortstops, Third basemen, Designated hitters, Outfielders, Starting pitchers, Closers, Top 100 overall, Guide to our 2011 fantasy rankings, Guide to the top keepers
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