The Arizona Complex League is about to get even more buzz as the Mariner’s top signee of the 2023 Amateur International signing period, Felnin Celesten, is headed to the desert. However, we will spotlight another ACL Mariner, outfielder Lazaro Montes, this week.
Montes joined the Mariners during the 2021-22 international signing period, with most scouts raving about his 60-grade power. He crushed the Dominican Summer League last year (.284/.422/1.007) with 28 extra-base hits in 55 games. The only red flag was the strikeout rate (33.2), but he countered that with an above-average walk rate (15.7). Montes played the entire season in the DSL and started this year’s campaign in the ACL.
His first month of ACL play tells a story that the Cuban outfielder is embracing the “dominate the zone” philosophy. Look into the stats, and you’ll see an adjustment. The sample size is small but shows Montes’ commitment to his craft. He’s forgoing some power and focusing on putting the ball in play. He also walks at an extremely high rate, which bodes well for his ascent through the system.
Scouts are comparing the 6’7” 226-pound outfielder to another fellow Cuban, Yordan Alvarez. If Montes follows that path, he probably becomes a designated hitter who moonlights in the outfield several days a week. We are more than likely three years away from seeing Laz Montes in Seattle, but his rise up the organizational ladder is something to watch. Especially if he cuts down on the strikeouts and taps into his power in-game.