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The Unassuming Miguel Montero

While the rest of the baseball community tries to make heads or tails out of yesterday’s Marlins/Blue Jays trade, a deal that only furthers the belief that Jeffrey Loria is one of the worst in the business, I’ll stick with Zach Sanders’ Catcher End of Season Rankings and scroll on down to a personal favorite of mine, at number seven, Miguel Montero. If you’ve owned him at any point over the last four seasons, then you know how valuable he can be in fantasy and if you haven’t, then you’re about to be let in on one of the best kept secrets at the catcher position.

OK, so there’s really nothing secretive about Montero. That was more for introductory effect than anything else, but given the relatively low profile he carries, you can understand the need for hyperbole.

Over the last few seasons, despite some steady and solid production, Montero has been regularly passed over in drafts in favor of bigger names. I won’t ever fault a fantasy owner for opting to invest a high pick in Buster Posey rather than draft Montero, but there are few other catchers out there that I would consider taking ahead of him once Posey is off the board. Sure, guys like Carlos Santana and Matt Wieters have tremendous upside, but for what they’ll cost you on draft day, I’ll take Montero every time. Not to mention the fact that in order for them to be worthwhile selections at such a high cost, they have to achieve that upside and given what we’ve seen, that is never a guarantee.

You see, I’ll take Montero somewhere between the eighth and tenth rounds and be more than just happy with my selection. While some owners are reaching for guys in the top five rounds and hoping that they get the ceiling and not the floor, I’ve built up my team at more crucial spots and have still managed to settle in with a catcher who should easily be in the top ten at year’s end. Knowing the steady 15-18 home runs with an average somewhere in the .280’s also means that I can very easily leave my catcher alone for the season unless injury befalls him. Since I’m not one to be making dozens of trades in a given year, I am more than happy to have Montero for the whole season unless someone blows me away with a deal that will upgrade me.

From a pure numbers standpoint, the consistent level of production that Montero provides is fantastic. His reliability is something that you can easily count on when setting up your draft strategy and team game plan for the year. Sure, he’s hit a few bumps in the road, but who hasn’t? You want to complain about his miserable first two months of the season last year? That’s fine, but just be sure to mention the splits for the other four months which included a run of 20-straight games played late in the season where he hit .385 with a .985 OPS. You got beef with his increased strikeout rate and a drop in his ISO rate? Understandable, but don’t forget to factor in his significantly increased walk rate, consistently high BABIP and a career-best .391 on-base percentage. Any way you want to look at it, you’ll see his final numbers still fall within the range of his previous seasons (sans injury). He’s like Steady Eddie. Or better yet, Even Steven. No matter which way one falls, the other side seems to rise accordingly.

For a sensible investment with solid return value, you simply can’t go wrong with Montero.