Isotope Montero, part of Rockies’ Arenado trade, shows great promise

Elehuris Montero hits a triple against El Paso on Saturday. (Mike Sandoval/For the Journal)

At this point in the career of 23-year-old Elehuris Montero, the most notable portion of his online Minor League Baseball player page requires one to scroll all the way to the bottom.

Scroll past the name and picture at the top. Scroll past the biographical information like his age, where he’s from, position, etc. Even scroll past all those stats he’s accumulated through six professional seasons – including the past nine games with the Albuquerque Isotopes, for whom he was 3-for-5 with five RBIs in Saturday’s 9-2 home win over the visiting El Paso Chihuahuas.

For now, the part of the page Montero is best known for to fans, onlookers, media – anyone outside his family and the team clubhouse – is being one of the five unheralded names listed in the Feb. 1 transaction notation that lists his joining the Colorado Rockies organization as part of a still rather unpopular (in Denver, anyway) trade of fan favorite third baseman Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals.

While Rockies fans have hardly gotten over losing their superstar, Montero has quietly been putting on the fast track his rapid progression to the majors. Considered the prospect with the highest ceiling of those in the trade for Arenado, he’s been making a name for himself with the Isotopes since his Sept. 2 call-up from Double-A Hartford.

Montero hit 22 home runs with a .278 batting average and 69 RBIs in 92 games for Hartford. With the Isotopes, he’s hitting .351 with two homers, eight RBIs, two doubles and a triple, including a walk-off home run on Thursday to beat the Chihuahuas in a game that was technically a resumption of a July 6 rain-suspended game – thus putting his first Triple-A stats in the books for a game that began more than two months ago.

“He’s everything he’s billed to be,” said Isotopes manager Warren Schaeffer. “He’s got a good, solid approach. He hits for power. I mean, he’s an offensive force. And he’s played solid defense for us overall, too. It’s been very good. I’ve been very happy with Montero so far.”

The Journal requested to talk with Montero after Saturday’s matinee game, but he was not made available.

As for his progression with the organization, “I’ll let the (Rockies) make that decision, I’m just getting better by trusting the process,” Montero told the Denver Post in August. “I’m working hard and getting ready for every day and every game. That’s all I can do.”

Signed at age 16, Montero was progressing nicely with the Cardinals. He was named the MVP of the High-A Midwest League in 2018, becoming the first player in the St. Louis organization to claim that distinction since Albert Pujols in 2000.

His 2019 season saw his numbers dip along with a wrist injury, though he was still placed on the Cardinals’ 40-man roster. He spent 2020 at their alternate training site before his trade to the Rockies in February. He’s been on fire ever since, making his ascension to the Triple-A Isotopes a no-brainer.

“You can see when his numbers are trending in the right way in Double-A, I mean he tore it up. It was only a matter of time before he got here,” Schaeffer said.

The power hitting numbers for the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder are not a concern. His improvement defensively at third base is a focus going forward.

“Yeah, we’re gonna get to work defensively,” Schaeffer said Saturday. “He’s a work in progress, but he’s got it. He can do it. And he’s got a very strong arm.”

As for in the clubhouse, the fit has been seamless.

“He’s a good kid. Everybody loves him,” Schaeffer said. “He’s a positive-vibes guy. Doesn’t say much, but he’s definitely already a part of the clubhouse.”

 

‘TOPES SUNDAY: Vs. El Paso

5:05 p.m., 610 AM/95.9 FM, abqisotopes.com

PROMOTION: Postgame fireworks

PROBABLES: Chihuahuas RHP Reiss Knehr (0-2, 2.93) vs. Isotopes RHP Jose Mujica (2-10, 8.92)

SATURDAY: Elehuris Montero’s two-run triple sparked a six-run fifth inning for host Albuquierque in its 9-2 matinee hour victory over host El Paso. Ryan Vilade had four hits to back a solid start by Frank Duncan, who is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA (3 ER/17 IP) over his last three starts.

FRIDAY: Taylor Snyder, Nick Longhi and Alan Trejo combined to drive in all seven of Albuquerque’s runs in its 7-3 victory over El Paso.

TRANSACTION: The parent Colorado Rockies optioned LHP Ben Bowden to Albuquerque.

(Click here for the box score, here for updated Triple-A West standings.)

 

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