Saturday was a cold and cloudy day in Mesa. The Cubs were very fortunate that the rain held off. Kerry Wood pitched a simulated game on the backfield at HohoKam. In the 1:05 game vs. the Brewers, Carlos Zambrano was dominant. Zambrano is now the Cubs best pitcher and most consistant starter. The Cubs split their squads on Saturday so many youngsters saw action in the win over Milwaukee and the loss to Oakland. A players name you will not find in either boxscore is that of Luis Montanez.
About 45 minutes before the game at HohoKam I drove south to Fitch Park. Walking up I was excited to see the Cubs young players hit. I watched players on one diamond and looked over at the other. In the box was a #13. It couldn't be could it? Was it him? (I felt like the guy at the end of the Eight Men Out suspicious of the CF in a bush league game.) Now I just gazed in amazement as the 23 year old 2B Luis Montanez took his cuts.
The Cubs onetime shortstop of the future and #1 pick in 2000 (3rd overall) has never made it past A ball. When he was drafted Montanez was compared to another Miami shortstop A-Rod. As I watched Montanez hit I couldn't help but think how disappointed he must be. Such high expectations surrounded Montanez. Now his future in baseball is up in the air.
The tale of Luis Montanez makes you wonder why baseball teams give such large signing bonuses to high school draft picks. Take a look at the 2000 draft. For every A-Rod there are a bunch of Luis Montanez'.