Mariners make big splash with Lazaro Montes International Signing

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 01: A fireworks show is seen at T-Mobile Park after the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels on October 01, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 01: A fireworks show is seen at T-Mobile Park after the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels on October 01, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

We finally have something to be excited about during the offseason for the Mariners. Amidst all the turmoil and sadness that the labor stoppage brings, we have a bright spot that stands out and makes us forget about it for a little while. International signing day is here, and the Mariners brought in a couple of incredible players to their system, headlined by Lazaro Montes.

The Mariners signed him to a $2.5 million signing bonus, an amount that falls in line with the #8 overall international prospect. For a while, I thought that Montes was a first base/corner outfielder. It’s what you expect when you hear about a player who’s already 6’4″ at 17 years old, with legit 60-grade power. Boy, was I mistaken.

Lazaro Montes is an incredible athlete, and Mariners fans should be happy to see him sign

Lazaro Montes has actually been playing center field. CENTER FIELD. It’s not a combo you see that often. It’s also not a case of just sticking the big athletic kid out there because it’s where you need him. He actually projects to have an average arm and be an average defender already, which is impressive at his age+size. He will likely end up moving to a corner spot, but knowing that he can play center now should give him a great shot to contribute on defense at the highest level.

He grades out incredibly well all across the board. As in, he’s league average or better at everything… well, that’s what his projections are. It actually looks like he projects to be league average at everything other than power. However, with his raw athleticism, we could see that improve his stock in nearly every area, depending on how he develops.

The power is what I want to take a look at. He has been compared to Yordan Alvarez, the Astros LF/DH. He actually worked with the same trainer as Alvarez, which furthered the comp.

Honestly… the 60 power grade might be a little low. It translates mid-20s power for home runs. Seeing what he can do at this age and how hard he can already hit the ball, it seems like it should be 65-70 instead. Plus-Plus with the ability to hit low 30s seems like a fair grade to me, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his grade jump in the next year or two.

Also, it may be a case where he is currently given the 60 power grade, but that doesn’t tell the full story of his numbers. Depending on where you look when you are looking at prospects, they will give them a current/future number. Sometimes, you will see something like Run: 50/40. It means that they are currently a 50, but the future projection is that they will drop. This may happen because they’ll continue to grow and put on weight, slowing down by the time they go pro.

With Montes and his power, it’s the other way. I’m not going to say he deserves an 80 on his future power or anything crazy like that, but a 60/70 would fall in line with what I mentioned earlier. You can see it in the video above, and when you mix his swing with his size and athleticism, you can see the potential for elite power. Honestly, seeing his size projection and ability to play center gives Aaron Judge vibes, as he played center in college and still occasionally does.

Don’t get too excited about seeing Montes in the next few years though. Remember, he’s only 17, and won’t turn 18 until the end of October. Even if he debuts on the same schedule as Alvarez, that would put his debut season at age 22… which would be 2027. With the late birthday, there’s a chance we could see him in 2026 at age 21, but I’d think it would be 2027 if I were a gambling man.

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We will have more in the coming days about the rest of the Mariners international signings. With how high up on the list Montes is, we wanted to give him his own article. Between the athleticism and massive power, it’s an incredibly exciting combination, and Montes makes the Mariners farm system that much better. Now that you know a bit more about him, we hope that you are as excited as we are to watch the progression of new Mariners outfielder, Lazaro Montes.