- Full name Miguel Angel Montero
- Born 07/09/1983 in Caracas, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 221 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Nuestra Senora La Esperanza
- Debut 09/06/2006
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Diamondbacks showed their confidence in Montero's future by trading Johnny Estrada to the Brewers over the winter. While he didn't tear it up as he did the year before, Montero may have been more impressive in 2006 because he never struggled and proved himself as a catcher. He has a quick, short swing and uses the entire field, and he still has the power to jerk balls out of the park. He has an average arm and quick release. Montero loves to hit so much that, defensively, he was little more than a backstop a couple of seasons ago. But his work behind the plate has improved dramatically, both from a mechanical standpoint as well as the energy and leadership he brings. He will expand his zone at times, so he still can improve his understanding of the strike zone. Montero again played winter ball in Venezuela, which should further prepare him for the big leagues. He may share time with Chris Snyder to start the season, but Arizona expects him to take over the starting job for himself before too long.
Montero was seen as a catcher with some promise, but nobody expected his 2005 breakout campaign. He challenged for the California League triple crown and played in the Futures Game, though he slowed down in Double-A, in part because of a ribcage injury. Under the tutelage of Lancaster manager Bill Plummer and hitting coach Damon Mashore, Montero shortened his swing and began to let his strength work for him at the plate. He focused on just putting good wood on the ball instead of trying to pull everything. He has average arm strength, blocks balls well and calls a good game. Montero's Double-A struggles also were the result of a return to bad habits. He began to overswing, allowing pitchers to expose his holes. His throws sometimes lack accuracy, and he erased a slightly below-average 32 percent of basestealers in 2005. Even the Diamondbacks were surprised by Montero's explosion, and they rewarded him by assigning him to the Arizona Fall League. He'll begin 2006 by trying to show he can handle Double- A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Montero had a breakthrough season in 2005 and proved it was no fluke this year. He makes consistently hard contact with a short stroke and did a better job of using the entire field this season. He also does a fine job behind the plate, showing an average arm with a quick release to go with strong blocking and game-calling ability. "He really improved the second time we saw him," Brundage said. "He made some adjustments, especially on the offspeed stuff. He's a very aggressive hitter. But the thing I like most about him his is presence behind the plate, especially for such a young guy in this league. He has a good arm and seemed to call a good game."
There were some questions about the validity of Montero's bat after he left the strong winds at high Class A Lancaster's Clear Channel Stadium and put up .250/.311/.352 numbers at Tennessee last season. But he answered any doubters in 2006 by improving his overall game and jumping to Triple-A. Montero has an easy, compact stroke from the left side, and he focused on using the whole field this season rather than just trying to pull balls over the right-field wall. As a result, he turned into more of a gap-to-gap hitter with the ability to turn on balls over the inner half of the plate. Montero's arm grades out as average and he threw out 39 percent of basestealers in the SL. His throws sometime lack accuracy, though he made significant strides in his transfer and release. He has excellent footwork, blocks balls well and calls a good game.
Montero seemingly came out of nowhere. He hit .263 with 11 homers in the Midwest League last year, but unlike Wood he wasn't tabbed as a future star. Then he challenged for the Cal League triple crown until he was promoted to Double-A. Montero's sudden offensive prowess was attributed to his new focus on contact, letting his strength work for him naturally as opposed to trying to power every ball out of the park. While he played in extremely hitter-friendly Lancaster Municipal Stadium and hit .404 at home, 11 of his 24 homers came on the road. Because his breakthrough was so unexpected, some scouts remained a bit skeptical if it was for real, and he didn't hit nearly as well in Double-A. His defense also took a great leap forward. Playing a half-season under Plummer, who had a 10-year major league career as a defensive-minded backup, transformed Montero from a questionable backstop to an average defender with room for more improvement. He has average arm strength but below-average accuracy.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Midwest League in 2004