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Jesus Montero(notes) entered the 2011 season ranked among baseball's top-five prospects according to ... well, according to pretty much everyone. BA had him third overall, behind only Bryce Harper(notes) and Mike Trout(notes). John Sickels graded the backstop near the top of the class. Keith Law ranked him fourth, giving an edge only to Trout, Harper and Domonic Brown(notes).

So basically there's widespread agreement on the 21-year-old Yankees prospect. Montero has the potential to be an exceptional hitter, a guy with high-end power and on-base skills. Defense has been the primary concern, but, as Sickels wrote, "No one will care much about the glove in five years." He projects as a valuable fantasy asset regardless of his position.

And then there's this: Five games into the International League season, Montero is hitting .480 (12-for-25) with a homer, three doubles and six runs scored. He's delivered four straight multi-hit efforts for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Not too shabby.

Naturally, Montero's early binge has led to speculation about when and where New York might deal him, and which pitcher they'll get in return. Here's my favorite blurb from that NY Daily News link:

The Astros, off to an awful start, are in rebuilding mode. Would they deal Brett Myers(notes) ($18 million due for 2011-12, plus a $3 million buyout or a $10 million club option for 2013) as they start over?

OK, I'm not officially authorized to negotiate for Houston, but I'm just gonna go ahead and accept the Myers-Montero deal on the team's behalf, pending approval. Please fax all necessary paperwork to my office. (Also: Please do not check Myers' 2010 home/road splits. Nothing to see there).

There's a decent chance that Montero will be this year's most useful call-up for fantasy purposes, at least among position players. He may appear to be blocked at the moment in New York, but he's clearly a trade chip — Montero was the key prospect in the near-deal for Cliff Lee(notes) last season — and there's little doubt we'll see him this year, assuming he remains healthy. Monitor, enjoy, prepare to add.


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