The Jesus Montero Eligibility Debate

We interrupt the 2012 Catcher Keeper Rankings to answer a question from one of our readers, Buck Turgidson, who asked,  “Will Jesus Montero be eligible at catcher to start next season?

Plenty of people are wondering whether or not they will get to use the New York Yankees hitting phenom at the position he played in the minor leagues or if his late season call-up that saw him DH for 14 games and work behind the plate for just 3 will lock him in as a designated hitter.  For the most part, those using ESPN and Yahoo as their fantasy site will be forced to begin the season with Montero as a DH and have to wait until he logs enough games behind the dish to qualify.  Those using other sites, such as CBS Sports, may have a little more flexibility depending on their Commissioner capabilities.  Personally, I think ESPN and Yahoo need to loosen the reins a little and allow for exceptions such as this.  I don’t see anything wrong with Montero beginning the season as a catcher and even set up something specific in the rules for just such an example.

How many times have we seen a situation where a guy moves to a different position in the offseason and it becomes apparent that he is going to be a better play over there.  Why can’t you draft him there?  Subpar season aside, wouldn’t it have been better for you to begin the year drafting Kevin Youkilis as a third baseman?  How about Michael Young throughout the last few years?  He’s been moved all around the infield to make room for other players.  There are a number of examples each year when a team and its manager have said that a guy will move positions for the season yet we’re still handcuffed by certain eligibility requirements.

In the keeper league that I commission, I have a stipulation to the eligibility rules that states:

“If you can supply documented evidence that a team is going to use a player regularly at a given position in the upcoming season (ESPN.com reports Yankees manager Joe Torre announced that Alex Rodriguez will be playing third base this season), then that position may be added to said player’s existing eligibility (Alex Rodriguez qualifies at 3B and SS) and he may be drafted as such.”

Plain and simple.  Show me the proof that a player will play a certain position and you can have him there.  Sure, there are going to be some decisions made by the Commissioner such as what is considered sufficient documented evidence, but this stipulation has been in the league rules for a number of years and there has never been an issue.  A few inquiries that have been met with disappointment?  Sure.  But if your league establishes the boundaries between legitimate news sources and hometown blogger speculation, then it runs very well.

To me, Jesus Montero is a catcher.  So what if he only got 3 games in during his short call-up in a playoff run, big deal.  That’s what he was in the minors and the Yankees have spoken at great length about him staying at the position and likely catching a game or two a week to spell Russel Martin.  That easily puts him on pace to surpass most league eligibility requirements and he will qualify in my league as such on Draft Day.  I don’t see why others shouldn’t follow suit.



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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com


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Jonathan
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Jonathan

I agree. To piggyback that point, my dynasty league has an eligibility rule for prospects that indicates if they have played a position in the minor leagues for 10 games either the same season or season before, they maintain said eligibility for that year in MLB.

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