Chicago Cubs Gradeout: Miguel Montero brought leadership to Chicago

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MIGUEL MONTERO. B-. 113 GP, 36 R, 86 H, 11 2B, 15 HR, 53 RBI, 49 BB, .248 AVG. C. Chicago Cubs

Before catcher Miguel Montero came to the North Side, the Chicago Cubs catching situation was murky at best. After Geovany Soto‘s Rookie of the Year season in 2008, the team went on to use Soto, Koyie Hill, Steve Clevenger, Dioner Navarro, John Baker, and Wellington Castillo to name a few through the 2014 season.

Due to the carousel that was the catching position, the team drafted a certain catcher from Indiana University 4th overall in the 2014 MLB Draft. However, there was still a need at the position until Kyle Schwarber was ready to take over. This is where Montero’s acquisition comes in.

Montero was coming off of an All-Star campaigns with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011 and 2014, and the Cubs jumped at the chance to acquire him.

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Even though the team had to trade away two minor league pitchers from an already thin position in the minors, Montero presented an immediate upgrade at the catching position over Castillo.

With the Cubs, Montero would put together an overall solid season as the starting catcher. The 32-year-old hit .248 with 15 home runs and 53 RBI’s in 113 games, 90 of which he started.

After hitting .230 with 10 home runs pre-All Star game, he put together a much better second half, hitting .277, nearly 50 points higher.

Furthermore, he was behind the plate for Jake Arrieta‘s no-hitter, executing a perfect game plan against the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, there were some flaws in Montero’s game.

At home, the catcher hit an impressive .272 over 59 games; on the road, he only hit .225 over 54 games. In addition, he mustered up a .095 batting average in eight postseason games, managing just two hits in 21 at-bats alongside 10 strikeouts.

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It came to the point where David Ross started at catcher in Game 4 of the NLCS, the same Ross who hit .176 in the regular season.

Ross’s start can be attributed his pitch calling skills and ability to control opponents on the base paths, but regardless, getting benched in an elimination game for a guy who struggled to hit all season was not Montero’s finest moment.

Speaking of stolen bases, Montero was only able to throw out 18 out of 89 men stealing a base during the regular season; in the postseason, he only threw out 1-of-4 base runners.

All in all, Montero’s first season with the team was a successful one, regardless of what happened in October. His ability to handle the pitching staff was a vital component to the team and he provided veteran leadership and playoff experience to a young Cubs roster.

He is expected to return in 2016, but may lose time to Schwarber, who in reality may take Montero’s job come 2017.