As a former top-hitting prospect in the game, the team will be counting on him to improve on his numbers at the plate next year, and solidify the offensive output from the middle of the order along with Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales.
The team will also be asking Montero, who is considered by many to be the type of player that should go straight into DH duties upon arrival, to catch more games behind the plate.
It’s a lot to handle, and Montero knows that he has his work cut out for him; but, not only is he working on getting prepared for those added responsibilities, Montero is also working to improve his greatest weakness – his speed.
Just hold your chuckles for a moment.
Look, to say that Montero runs poorly would almost be an insult to poor runners. He’s well aware of that, and according to Greg Johns of MLB.com, the 23-year old has been working hard with a running specialist in his home in Venezuela all off-season to learn how to run and “working on [Montero’s] techniques about running”.
In fact, Montero had designed his entire off-season training regiment with that very goal in mind, and is more than confident that he’ll enter next season with improved speed, and that he has learned just how “to run a little more beautiful” on the basepaths.
Though it’s probably reasonable to temper expectations as to how this will affect his potential steal total next season (one would probably be a revelation), that Montero chose to focus on running techniques could yield benefits in other parts of his game. Simple changes to how one strikes their foot when they land (it doesn’t take an expert to see that Montero does not do this correctly) can have significant results to how much wear goes to the knee and lower body chain, something that’s more than likely going to come into play as Montero gears up for an expanded catching role.
Improvements in running form can also significantly reduce how much overall effort is expended while running, and could well play into how the mid-summer doldrums might affect the catcher/DH’s game. Though his goal may be to work primarily on his speed, it’s likely that what he worked on will end up affect his athletic makeup overall.
At the very least, the Mariners have to be pleased that one of their most important young players is dedicated enough to identify and address a tertiary part of his game like this, even if it only means that he won’t be rounding the bases as awkwardly in 2013.