It’s Elehuris Montero time. Or at least it should be.

Acquired just before the 2021 season in exchange for a player you may have heard of before, Nolan Arenado, Montero has been an intriguing player and a bit of a lightning rod ever since.

Getting past the burdens of those who need him to live up to the trade (alongside fellow former Cardinal Autin Gomber) Montero immediately became the most promising hitter the Rockies had in their system above A ball and hopes were high he would soon translate that to the Bigs.

He spent most of the 2021 season making the Rockies feel good about having targeted him in the trade. He smashed 22 home runs in just 92 games while posting a 136 wRC+ earning himself a call to Triple-A Albuquerque. He kept it going with six more home runs in 28 games at the highest level of the minors.

He was clearly knocking on the door but as strong as his performance was with the bat, there remained questions about his defense at the corners and there wasn’t an obvious place to put him with Ryan McMahon and C.J. Cron locked in at third and first base respectively.

So he spent most of 2022 making the trip up and down I-25, getting called up whenever there was an opening in the first half of the season, coming up for the final stretch along with several other young players for the last few months.

And he made the most of it, struggling at first to adjust to MLB but finishing strong while maintaining a steady 130 wRC+ in ABQ. He ended up hitting .233 with six home runs in 185 plate appearances, showing both the promise his power can bring and exactly what he needed to work on for this season.

One of the promising things about Montero’s profile has been that he tends to strike out around 20 percent of the time as opposed to the 30 percent that has become more and more common among these types of hitters. Naturally, during his time with the Rockies last season, his strikeout rate did jump up to 32 percent while he walked only 4.3 percent of the time.

Colorado wanted to see him make improvements in these areas, including the defense, this spring.

When they were healthy one of the biggest questions facing the team was what to do if he did make these improvements. Where would he fit in?

Then Brendan Rodgers got hurt and it looked like the move would be to slide McMahon over to second and get Montero in at third so they can finally see if he can live up to his potential.

But then the club signed veteran Mike Moustakas throwing all of that into doubt.

At the time, Montero was having good at-bats but wasn’t getting good results. A lot of hard contact outs. Moustakas arrived and began to rake immediately, almost certainly and rightfully earning himself a spot on the roster.

Since then, Montero has been on a tear. As of the writing of this piece, he is hitting .327/.383/.582 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 60 plate appearances. His 18 hits have him tied for fourth most in all of spring play. Perhaps most encouraging though is that he has walked five times and struck out only 11, a rate of roughly 18 percent.

With the team recognizing that their other intriguing young corner guy, Nolan Jones, wasn’t in a good place to face MLB competition right now – considering he was one of the worst hitters all Spring Training – the starting third base job comes down to a question between Moustakas and Montero.

Teams of Rockies past, and a team expecting to compete for the division, would probably wisely go with the veteran who is a three-time All Star and former World Series champion.

But this Rockies team should roll with the kid.

It may end up being the case that he doesn’t make the adjustments at the plate or in the field to stick around for long but it may also end up being the case that 2023 is the year that Elehuris Montero carved out a place in a core that can turn this team around.

And he has earned that chance.