Last week, we discussed our expectations for Orioles outfielder Lou Montanez in 2009.
It seems like a lot of people think Montanez will succeed offensively this season, regardless of whether it's in the minor leagues or major leagues. Still, several readers mentioned that he didn't have great offensive statistics until last season. Those people would like to see the 6-foot-2, 185-pound outfielder repeat his numbers again in the minors before taking on a bigger role with the Orioles.
There were also more than a few comments about using Montanez in a platoon role with Luke Scott in left field. Of course, the Orioles acquired Felix Pie from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for left-handed pitcher Garrett Olson and minor leaguer Hank Williamson earlier this week, and Pie is expected to be the primary left fielder. So, I think many people will want to edit their projections for Montanez during the 2009 season.
With the Orioles picking up Pie, how do you think that affects Montanez in the upcoming season?
Speaking of trades, in case you forgot, the Orioles picked up two prospects along with utility player Ryan Freel in the deal that sent Ramon Hernandez to the Cincinnati Reds earlier in the offseason.
Let's talk about one of the prospects – Justin Turner – during today's discussion. I'm assuming most Orioles fans don't know much about Turner, other than what I posted when the trade occurred.
Here is what MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo said about Turner following the deal.
The Reds selected the 5-foot-11, 180-pound infielder in the seventh round of the 2006 MLB draft.
Turner hit .338 with six home runs and 41 RBIs for the rookie-level Billings Mustangs during his first professional season in 2006. He had 12 stolen bases and 16 doubles in 60 games, while striking out 38 times.
The 24-year-old second baseman, who can also play shortstop, third base and in the outfield, batted .311 with 10 home runs and 59 RBIs in 117 games for the Single-A Dayton Dragons during the 2007 season. Turner had 25 doubles, four triples and 12 stolen bases for the Dragons.
Last season, Turner split time between the Single-A Sarasota Reds and the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts. He hit .316 with 11 RBIs and 23 runs scored in 33 games for Sarasota before being promoted to Chattanooga. Turner batted .289 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs in 78 games for the Lookouts. He also spent some time on the disabled list after colliding with a teammate during a game in June.
Defensively, Turner has committed 31 errors in 294 minor league games. His worst season was in 2007, when he made 14 errors for Dayton. He made nine errors in 2008.
So, what are your expectations for Turner during the 2009 season? Depending on how the organizational depth chart shakes out during spring training, Turner could start the season with the Double-A Bowie Baysox or the Triple-A Norfolk Tides.
Personally, I'd like to see him as the starting second baseman for the Tides. He could solidify his position as the team's top prospect at the position with solid offensive numbers in Triple-A. Turner could eventually be the replacement for Brian Roberts if the Orioles are unable to sign the veteran second baseman to a long-term deal.
I'm going to be optimistic and say that Turner will hit .300 with 10-15 home runs and 60-70 RBIs for the Tides. Look for him to be among the league leaders in doubles and runs scored.
Do you think Turner will establish himself as the successor to Roberts? Will he prove to be the most valuable piece of the trade that sent Hernandez to the Reds, or is he destined to spend the rest of his career in the minor leagues?
Let me know what you anticipate from Turner during the upcoming season.
Check out previous installments of "Predict the future" by clicking on the links below: