Kyle Freeland on Elehuris Montero: “Has a chance to do some special things”

Aug 19, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies designated hitter Elehuris Montero (44) celebrates with teammates after the game against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It was a good night at the ballpark.

Elehuris Montero has had a wild ride for the last few months. Back and forth from MLB to the minors after making his debut in May but finally getting his shot at regularly playing time in August.

The numbers have been fantastic, slashing .279/.300/.599 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 17 games, putting some punctuation on a Friday night victory over the Giants with the first multi-home run game of his career. He also tacked on five RBI for good measure.

“He’s got a really beautiful swing,” Kyle Freeland told me the next day, “I think last night flashed what he’s truly capable of.”

Interestingly, Montero said the same thing, telling the gathered media that he felt like he had a lot more to give. Manager Bud Black echoed those statements specifically regarding Montero’s already remarkably strong build, saying he thinks there’s yet untapped power as well.

During Spring Training, he also mentioned that he doesn’t shy away at all from the pressures of being a big part of the return for Nolan Arenado, stating explicitly that he wants to be a talent on that level someday as well.

And why shouldn’t he say and believe that?

“He’s a young player and he’s trying to make a name for himself,” says Freeland. “He’s got that quiet confidence. Which is a good thing. You gotta have confidence in the game and it’ll take you a long way. There’s also a fine line between confidence and cockiness but he’s on the right side of that line. He’s a confident player who has a chance to do some special things in this league.”

So, he went out and hit another big blast in the series wrap between the Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon. A microcosm of the season at large, he was a fun bright spot in an eventual loss.

The big boy with the big bat sure seemed to be enjoying himself with a big smile though Freeland assures me that inside the clubhouse, it’s not like he is some sort of hyperactive rookie proverbially doing way too much.

“He’s kinda quiet in here,” Freeland says. “He’s very focused on the task at hand.”

But if you really want to get a sense for what a pitcher thinks about a hitter, you gotta know how they themselves would approach the guy if he were at the plate.

“I’m staying away from the inner half,” Freeland speculates. “He can get to firm stuff on the inner half of the plate really well. He has a big swing at times that can do damage but what’s tough is he knows when he’s behind in the count he can take pitches the other way. He’s a guy you have to be careful with because he can do real damage.”

So far, the rest of the league hasn’t gotten the memo and for now seem content to continue to challenge the young Montero.

Also so far, he has risen to that challenge.

There isn’t a lot to get excited about right now for Rockies fans, whether thinking on this season or next. The club is in a rut and many evaluators find the farm system to be lacking. But ultimately the future of the team will be decided not by prospect ranking but by whether or not the right guys in the right places can step up.

Montero is one of those guys.

And right now, both the fans and his teammates can find a sliver of joy in dreaming on what he could bring to the future.

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