With so many articles designed to help you win your fantasy league this season, it’s time we threw some out to the bottom-feeders, especially those in keeper and dynasty leagues. While most of the competitors currently in the lower third of your league’s standings couldn’t care less about what’s going on today, it is the wise and savvy GM that continuously prepares for the future. With so much young talent behind the dish these days, it only makes sense to see what’s out there beyond the horizon. So here’s a look at a couple of top catching prospects that could debut with a late season call-up this year, but will likely be forced to wait in the minors until their time comes in 2012.
Jesus Montero — Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (AAA), NYY
Montero is a beast of a prospect and has long been touted by minor league talent scouts for his big time bat. However, his defensive skills and current attitude seem to be holding him back right now. With Russell Martin’s lackluster play, it’s very possible the Yankees would have overlooked some of Montero’s defensive shortcomings if it meant adding his bat to an already potent lineup, but apparently Montero, disgruntled with having to remain in the minors, has had a bit of an attitude problem as of late. Words like “uninspired”, “bored”, and “lacking energy” have been used to describe his play this season, and it even resulted in a two game benching last week.
In previous seasons, Montero has posted some solid numbers — double digit home runs, high batting average, decent walk rates, mid to low strikeout rates, and an ISO north of .220 each year. Unfortunately this year it’s almost the complete reverse, save for the batting average, and that, in turn, is frustrating the organization. On another team, he probably would have already been moved to first base and been up in the bigs, but with Mark Teixeira locked in, the Yankees don’t have that luxury. They also do not want to use him solely as a DH. If he makes the necessary adjustments, he could get a late season call up or there’s always the chance that the team deals him away. At this point, neither situation would be bad as both would result in his bat coming to the majors.
Devin Mesoraco — Louisville Bats (AAA), CIN
Mesoraco was a first round pick in 2007 out of high school and never really showed too much in his first few years in the minors. Then 2010 hit and so did he. The young righty went from Single-A to Triple-A that season posting a slash line of .302/.377/.587 with 26 home runs and 75 RBI and an ISO mark over .250 for the year. The defensive skills were decent. Not overwhelming, but decent. Some additional work in Triple-A would help that though. After an average showing in the Arizona Fall League, Mesoraco has gone back to raking with 8 HR and 44 RBI in 282 plate appearances for an ISO mark of .219. He has vastly improved his game and is ready to be summoned.
The call-up will likely be on hold though as Dusty Baker said there are no immediate plans to bring up any of the young Reds minor league hitters right now. The big club’s problems are pitching related and neither Ramon Hernandez nor Ryan Hanigan have given much reason to be supplanted. Maybe if one of them suffers an injury then the story could be different, but for now, Dusty is very happy with his veteran tandem. Next year could be a much different story though. While Hanigan signed a 3 year extension back in March, Hernandez is a free agent at the end of the year and might not be back. If Mesoraco continues his development, he could end up the Reds starting catcher in 2012.
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