Chicago Cubs: Now healthy, Montero showing improvement at the plate
Once again healthy and driving the ball to the opposite field, the Chicago Cubs Miguel Montero will be more than a supporting role in 2016.
After Chicago Cubs‘ starting catcher Miguel Montero injured his thumb last season, the front office called up their most recent draft pick Kyle Schwarber to help fill-in. Schwarber continued to crush the ball, and some wondered if Montero had been “Wally Pipped”. Schwarber stuck around, but Montero continued to be a part of the Cubs postseason success as well. Now healthy, Montero has made some adjustments at the plate that have paid early dividends this spring.
Generall an opposite field to up the middle batter, Montero has made the adjustment of letting the ball get deeper into the strike zone while also staying “quieter” with his body. So far, that’s led to a 5-for-5 start in cuctus league play–with every hit to the opposite field.
Montero came off of an All-Star campaign in 2014, and while he missed some time with injury, playing in 23 fewer games than he did in 2014–his numbers were actually BETTER in most categories. Average, on-base and slugging were all improved while his home run and RBI totals were very similar. Doubles were noticeably down from 23 to 11, but his offense as a whole hasn’t dropped off.
With David Ross in his final season, and Schwarber likely to see time behind the plate, but not ready to assume everyday duties–Montero’s importance to the Cubs cannot be overstated. He will bridge the gap to Schwarber, Willson Contreras or whoever is next in line behind the plate. A rejuvenated Montero at the plate can definitely help drive an already potent Cubs offense.
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Montero is signed through the 2017 season, and the timing of that could work out perfect. Contreras will get another year of seasoning in the minors while Schwarber can be mixed in occasionally behind the plate while learning from the veterans Ross and Montero firsthand. By then Schwarber could have very well become an adequate catcher or left fielder and the Cubs will know what direction to go. Plus Montero coined the#wearegood, so you have to appreciate that.