Jesus Montero was acquired by the Mariners because the Mariners, like so many other people, figured he could blossom into one hell of a bat. The Mariners also figured Montero could catch, which would be great, but even if Montero had to play first or DH, the Mariners liked his potential, because everyone has always liked Montero’s potential. Okay. Fast forward!
If you want to be encouraged, 192 players this season have enough at-bats against left-handed pitchers to be considered “qualified,” whatever that means. Montero’s numbers are the 14th-best, by one reasonable measure, and some of the names around him are David Freese, Billy Butler, Yadier Molina, and Mike Trout. Montero has hit lefties. Montero has humiliated lefties.
...Jesus Montero, since the start of 2011, has shown very broad platoon splits. Against lefties, he’s been an all-world slugger, making enough contact and driving the ball in the air. Against righties, he’s been disgusting, and nearly half of his balls hit in play have been on the ground. That’s not who Jesus Montero is. Correction: that is who Jesus Montero is, but that isn’t what Jesus Montero is supposed to be. Montero is an unfinished product in plenty of ways, and this is one of them. Montero needs to improve against right-handed pitchers. The majority of pitchers he’s going to face will be right-handed pitchers, and he’ll be expected to be an everyday, middle-of-the-order contributor. What’ll go into making Montero better? Hell, I don’t know. I’m not a hitting coach, and I don’t even know what hitting coaches do. But this is an important project. Whatever is the matter with Jesus Montero against righties needs to stop being so much the matter. Until he can drive the ball in the air regardless of pitcher handedness, he’ll be only an occasional bat, and that isn’t the point of Jesus Montero at all.