Now could be Elehuris Montero’s time to shine

Aug 10, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies designated hitter Elehuris Montero (44) watches his ball on a triple in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

As the Colorado Rockies begin a series in St. Louis just a few days after playing the Cardinals back in Denver, there’s bound to be continued conversation of the trade that dramatically changed the local market.

And while much of that conversation recently centered around pitcher Austin Gomber who has struggled all season and gave up a symbolic home run to Nolan Arenado in the set, it’s worth focusing on another huge element of that trade and not for narrative reasons.

It is, of course, always tempting to frame these things as equations meant to pass judgment on decisions. The Rockies let Trevor Story walk in free agency and got a draft pick for it. They used that draft pick on outfielder Sterlin Thompson who will forever be seen by some as “the guy they got for Story ” despite him not really getting to weigh in on all that.

The same goes for Elehuris Montero who will unfairly be compared to Arenado his whole career. Montero has actually embraced the pressure, where many in his shoes would refuse to acknowledge it exists at all, and appears to be rising to the occasion early in his career.

He wasted no time in picking up his first pair of hits in his MLB debut back on May 1 but it was a brief appearance as were his three games on June 7, 8, and 10 where he failed to reach base in nine plate appearances. 

Caught up in questionable roster shuffling, Montero wasn’t seen again in the Bigs until June 22, 23, 26, and 28, still sporadic playing time but this time he did manage to pick up two more hits, his first extra-base hit (a double) and score his first pair of runs.

He played in just three games in all of July with a couple more hits but clearly, he wasn’t establishing any kind of rhythm… or being allowed to.

His minor league numbers throughout all this, though, remained fantastic. He hit .310/.392/.541 with 15 home runs in 65 games while striking out just 21 percent of the time. That was good for a wRC+ of 130.

That’s a potential good sign for the state of his mind and the consistency of his bat. It remains to be seen whether or not Montero can carve out a place for himself defensively, but his position is “hitter” and that will be his ticket to a spot.

Since the calendar has turned over to August, the Rockies have committed to Montero as an everyday player and both parties appear to be enjoying themselves.

The young slugger is hitting .326/.340/.522 with six doubles, and his first home run and seven RBI in 12 games.

That is a very small sample size and we are a long way toward declaring his future stardom set in stone. But his bat has garnered high praise for a long time as a prospect and it has been a while since a Rockies farm hand has felt this comfortable at the plate this quickly.

It could fairly be said that Montero might be the most exciting thing for a Rockies fan to watch right now. Sure, C.J. Cron and Daniel Bard are doing their thing but that is to be expected at this point. 

Montero represents something incredibly rare for the die-hard purple pinstripe wearer, hope.

During the final stretch of the season, beginning on Tuesday night with the team that traded him away, Elehuris Montero may well be writing the first sentences of the first chapter of his own rise. 

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