I’m going to do a quick series of posts involving the Mariners’ key young players and
their goals for the 2013 season (or at least what should be their goals). These players include in no particular order, Jesus Montero (today’s installment), Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Michael Saunders, Kendrys Morales, and Justin Smoak.
These players figure to be the core of the Mariners’ offense for the foreseeable future.
Jesus Montero’s Goals:
1. Play in at least 145 games.
Last year, Jesus played in only 135 games, mostly at DH. For him to be productive, he can’t miss 17% of the season. A bump of ten games this year is reasonable, and will be ten more games where he can help the Mariners win. Hopefully he can eventually get to 150+, especially as a DH.
2. Walk at least 40 times.
In 2012, Jesus walked only 29 times. For someone who projects to be a power-hitter in the Major Leagues, he needs better plate discipline. Hopefully, as the young player progresses, this will occur naturally. Walking 40 times would be a 33% increase in his walks, and would also increase his OBP into the .330 range instead of last year’s .298, also assuming a slight increase in hits.
3. Hit at least 23 Homeruns and 30 Doubles.
Montero will be most valuable if he has a high slugging percentage. He’s the definition of lead-footed (two stolen bases in the entirety of his minor league career), so he won’t be able to advance to the next bag via the stolen base. Last year, Jesus hit 15 homers and 20 doubles, so increases of eight homers and ten doubles are achievable and respectable. The fences being moved in at Safeco Field should also give him a slight boost in his extra-base-hits total. If he achieves this goal, his slugging percentage should rise above .450.
4. Hit right handed pitching.
Jesus Montero struggled against right handed pitching in 2012. Last year, against right handers, Jesus batted a measly .228, while against lefties he batted .322. That is almost a .100 point difference in average. Most of the pitchers he will face will be righties, so if he can solve this problem, or simply suppress it to the point where he hits even .260-.270 off of them, he could have a tremendous season. This is the most important goal for Jesus.
I learned a lot about Jesus Montero while researching for this article. While looking through his stats, I learned he had a pretty good year last year. If you pay attention to Bill James’ projected stats, Montero looks to fare well this year. In 2012, Jesus had a -0.2 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), while this year he projects to have a +1.9 WAR. This would be a fantastic improvement for Jesus and the Mariners in their never-ending quest to solve their problems in the batter’s box.