Hot Corner Prospects

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This topic contains 34 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Bob Reed 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #67629
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    RememberDiz
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    True. But, Montero spent three years in the rookie leagues, hitting about nine home runs total with not a lot of production. He did well when he moved up this year—to Peoria where Gorman now is.

    Gorman had one year in the rookie leagues, hitting 350 with more home runs than Montero had in three. Then, he moved to Peoria at the end of his first year, hitting six home runs in about 83 at bats. Indeed, he is striking out too much and is down to 217. But, he’s where it took Montero four years to get to.

    I don’t know about the fielding of any of them. I kind of want to see where Montero, Gorman, and Nunez are next year, being the second for Gorman and Nunez.

    #67788
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    Bob Reed
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    Hey, Diz.

    Far as I’m concerned, you’re not wrong to get excited about Nunez and Gorman. Malcom Nunez is better than Montero was at age 17, and Nolan Gorman is definitely ahead of where Montero was in 2017 at age 18, even though Montero was a league All-Star last year.

    But the thing is, Elehuris Montero took a major leap forward in 2018, and moreover he did so while jumping from the low rookieball Gulf Coast League, over both the Appy League and NY-Penn, straight to a very tough full season league for hitters, and while toiling in a tough hitter’s park in Peoria to boot.

    Hitting performance is all relative, and what Montero did at age 19 in the Midwest League was pretty rare stuff. Specifically, he posted a wRC+ of 156 this year — for those who don’t know, it’s like OPS+, where 100 is league average, 130 or so is outstanding, and anything over 150 is downright dominant. And teenagers don’t dominate very often in the MWL. A few per year, tops.

    In fact, here’s a chronological list of every other MWL teenager who’s registered a 150 wRC+ or better this decade (min. 200 plate appearances):

    Mike Trout, Wil Myers, Oscar Taveras, Javy Baez, Corey Seager (are you impressed yet?), Byron Buxton, Bobby Bradley, Eloy Jimenez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Bo Bichette, and Vlad Guerrero Jr.. As you can see, it’s rarified air.

    And as mentioned in one of my other posts in this thread, Eleh might be even better than that 156 says he is. Because (1)he was better on the road than at home, and (2)he hit distinctly better during the season’s second half than the first. So there’s those bonuses.

    As for your final paragraph, I included Montero’s defense in my most recent remarks so I won’t bore you by repeating that. Nolan Gorman’s glovework looked good in person for me, but he has definitely made too many errors, as young infielders are wont to do. Other hand, he’s also turned a TON of double plays, which is quite encouraging. Malcom Nunez is the polar opposite — almost no miscues, but also few double plays. Either of the kids could turn out fine in the field, or even much better than fine. But of course they won’t all wind up at third base, not if they stay with the Cards.

    Short version: you’ve got 3 guys, all performing great, and all young for their leagues. In that situation, the fellow who’s done it at the higher levels is usually the lowest risk for eventually busting, and hence usually the best prospect of the bunch. This is especially true when comparing hitters in rookieball or short season, to one in a full season league.

    If Nolan Gorman had succeeded in the Midwest league, then yes, I might have him above Montero. But Gorman’s been more or less overmatched in Peoria, as Brian noted when he cited the bloated strikeout rate. So right now, Eleh Montero is my slight betting favorite for a solid MLB career.

    #67792
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    Bw52
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    Gorman is playing against guys on the average 3 years older than him.Montero had several years of Pro ball experience.That said he kicked butt at age 19 mostly this season at Peoria so that means he was 2 years younger than the league average.What`s not to like.Cards have to feel good about 3B prospects coming up.
    Memphis 2019
    Tommie Edman 3B

    Springfield
    Evan Mendoza
    Andy Young

    Palm Beach

    Elihuris Montero
    Peoria
    Nolan Gorman

    Would like to see the Cards find a way to keep Patrick Wisdom around.Since he has had some success at the MLB level(small sample size I know).One would think there is a role for players like him as a backup 3B-1B -PH.

    #74886
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    #74887
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    Cardinals27
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    Very nice for the young man to be involved in his community. Way to go Nolan!!

    #75278
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    Gorman showing off his hand-eye coordination.

    #75284
    stlcard25
    stlcard25
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    The thrower is Rays 1st round pick Matthew Liberatore.

    #75289
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    Apparently, they did not have a gun on him. 😉

    #75291
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    CariocaCardinal
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    I’m not sure if that video speaks more to Gorman’s eye/hand coordination or Libatore’s throwing accuracy.

    #75299
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    Bob Reed
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    Thanks for posting those clips, Brian. I know those two competed against each other quite a bit in high school, including the summer showcase stuff. Obviously buddies.

    Since this thread has been rejuvenated, I figured I’d take the opportunity to articulate a bit better why I have Redbird 3rd base prospect Elehuris Montero so highly ranked among all prospects.

    “Top 40 overall for Montero? That’s aggressive.”

    Pads was quite correct when he made this observation back in August. Top 40 will certainly seem aggressive, compared to other outlets. So it demands explaining on my part. Here goes.

    Hitting performance is all relative, and what Montero did at age 19 in the Midwest League was pretty rare stuff. Specifically, he posted a wRC+ of 156 this year. For proper context, here’s a chronological list of every other Midwest League teenager who’s registered a 150 wRC+ or better this decade (min. 200 plate appearances):

    Mike Trout, Wil Myers, Oscar Taveras, Javy Baez, Corey Seager, Byron Buxton, Bobby Bradley, Eloy Jimenez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Bo Bichette, and Vlad Guerrero Jr.. Nice roll call, huh?

    So Elehuris Montero was just the 12th teenage batter this decade to meet that lofty 150 wRC+ standard. After their Midwest League seasons, the other 11 prospects were ranked 24th on average at Baseball America, and unsurprisingly all of them were top 100 prospects. Throw out the high and low (Buxton #1, Bradley #93) and the average ranking rises to 19th.

    But that’s admittedly misleading, since some of the above 11, like Byron Buxton for instance, were already considered top prospects before they played a game in the Midwest League. To find Montero’s true peer group, we must compare him to the players who were unranked prior to their MWL seasons. That would be these seven: Bichette, Tatis, Myers, Jimenez, Bradley, Taveras, and Seager.

    Like Montero, the non-top 100 guys all had positives and negatives before their triumphant MWL performances. (Montero was a modest bonus baby when he signed at 16 — no great scouting pedigree. But on the other hand, the year before thrashing the MWL he was an all-star in the Gulf Coast League. So he didn’t come from nowhere. Not by a long shot.)

    So if we use the seven other prospects as a frame of reference, what do we get? Their average rank at Baseball America following their MWL seasons was 35th. If you want to argue that those seven offer more in the way of defense/baserunning than Montero, and therefore aren’t his true peers, well, the numbers don’t back that assertion up.

    The Baseball Prospectus WAR numbers, which include baserunning and glovework, place Montero’s MWL season slightly above the other seven on average, with Montero at 6.4 WAR per 600 PA’s, and the others just a hair under 6.0. So I consider it only reasonable to place him in that peer group, and rank him in the top 35-40 overall prospects. But I can offer a bit more support — for both Montero’s bat and glove.

    Montero as a pro has committed too many errors, and his error/DP ratio is marginal. But his range appears to be above average, as his annual defensive runs saved are in fact very solid, every year, per the Baseball Prospectus site:

    2015 +7 runs in 57 games
    2016 +3 runs in 61 games
    2017 +3 runs in 52 games
    2018 +3 runs in 103 Peoria games
    2018 +1 in just 24 Palm Beach tilts

    Five stops, five positive run values. So, error totals notwithstanding, when confronted with the above numbers it’s pretty hard to argue that he’s been a poor defender. And maybe he’s actually good!

    And if all that weren’t enough, here’s another positive marker for success. Ele’s plate discipline at Peoria was markedly stronger down the stretch, as was his power.

    First half: .307/.359/.483 with a 16/56 BB/K, excellent for a teen in the MWL, but blah strikezone control.
    Second half: .347/.416/.604 with a 17/25 BB/K, great numbers for anyone of any age at any level or league.

    And finally, he played in a Midwest League pitcher’s park this season. Montero’s road OPS was 55 points higher than home at Peoria, so even his outstanding numbers may be underestimating his current true talent.

    So top 40, absolutely. Good chance to be an above average regular. Stardom not impossible.

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