Callis On The Yankee Catching Depth

Jim Callis answered a number of questions regarding Yankee catching prospects in his ESPN chat today, and made some interesting points. Let’s break them down by player:

Jesus Montero:

I like the Piazza comp. That’s a lot to put on Montero, but he has that potential impact bat and that lackluster defense behind the plate. But the bat may be enough to not worry about his defensive inadequacies.

Callis gets more specific on this point later in the chat:

First base (Teixeira) and DH (a slew of older players) are locked up for a while, so catcher is still going to be the best fit. I think the Yankees are going to try to make that work, and if they have to sacrifice defense for offense, they may just do that.

This course of action makes the most sense for the Yankees, as it allows them to extract the most value possible from Montero. What I found interesting was that Callis did not dismiss this course of action as entirely ridiculous or unworkable. It seems to me that the general vibe surrounding Montero’s defense has gone from “it’s awful” to “it’s bad,” which should be enough to keep him at catcher.

Finally, if you are wondering about his value should he fail as a catcher:

Is Montero still in your top ten if he never picks up a catcher’s mitt again?

Jim Callis (2:57 PM): Yes. His bat is that good.

Are you excited yet?

Austin Romine:

He has a chance to be a solid regular. I don’t see him as a potential star, so he probably won’t make my Top 100 list.

Later, Callis defines a solid regular:

A guy who can be an everyday player for a number of years on a good team. Using the Phillies for an example, guys like Utley, Howard and Rollins are stars, while Victorino, Werth and Polanco would be solid regulars.

One thing I think Callis slightly glosses over is that there are simply fewer solid regulars at catcher than there are at other positions. After the first 6-8 guys, everyone else is fairly interchangeable. A solid regular at catcher is actually a good asset that has plenty of value. I am bullish on Romine, but would certainly be pleased if he turned into a solid regular by Callis’ definition.

Finally, JR Murphy:

He flew under the radar in the draft a little bit, might be a very nice get for the Yankees in the second round. He can really hit.

If either Montero or Romine make it as a catcher, you might see a guy like Murphy, whose offense outstrips his catching, moved to left field. The Yankees really are stacked at catcher, with Murphy and Sanchez joining Montero and Romine to provide amazing depth. These guys should be a lot of fun to follow.

0 thoughts on “Callis On The Yankee Catching Depth

  1. I’m guessing that you already saw Frankie Pilitierre’s comments about Jesus Montero yesterday given this comment:

    “It seems to me that the general vibe surrounding Montero’s defense has gone from “it’s awful” to “it’s bad,” which should be enough to keep him at catcher. ”

    In case you didn’t though, He essentially said that Montero is better than commonly thought defensively, is better than Piazza was defensively, and if he is eventually moved from catcher it will more likely be because he isn’t good enough defensively to justify the wear and tear of catching and not because he isn’t adequate at catcher.

  2. Montero’s body and size is best suited for DH. Montero could be a David Ortiz in his prime if the Yankees hand him the full time DH role. Regarding resting the old guys, why not give them the full day off and let the reserves get their share of playing time.

  3. Werth is just a solid regular? I don’t know who Calis is but I don’t think his opinion is “WERTH” much.

    • He was asked that in the chat. He said Werth has only been a star for 1 year, and that he’s been a solid regular for the rest of his career.

      • Werth put together a career year, and i bet you the Phillies are expecting a regression. dude’s 3 years in his prime and just put together his first 500 AB season. he’s in no way anything more than a 1 year wonder.

  4. Lets please stay away from Ortiz comps … not only b/c we all frigging HATE that guy but also Montero is a RHH! I much prefer a Miguel Cabrera comp, who by the way has already put together more All-star level seasons than Ortiz.

  5. My biggest complaint about BA and “traditional” prospect guys is that they don’t seem to understand what makes a major league player valuable. They are real good at looking at a prospect and doing the scouty thing. Look at Delmon Young as a perfect example – they knew what tools he had, but didn’t realize that not walking would make him useless.

    What they describe Austin Romine as is a pretty good major league catcher, and a pretty sure shot to be that player. (here and in other places) That’s a top-100 prospect to me, much more than guys who may have a small shot at being a star but a really good shot at busting.