Stats & Info: Miguel Montero

AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezThe Giants hit just two home runs at home in July, both by Buster Posey.
ESPN's Home Run Tracker analyzes video of each home run hit this season and as far back as 2006. Each month, the tracker will detail the best and worst home runs, as well as some other interesting statistics pertaining to the long ball. With the exception of the final day of the month, below are the notable home runs for the month of July.

No Doubter of the Month: Longest true distance HR
June Winner: Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers (484 feet)
July Winner: Cameron Maybin, San Diego Padres (485 feet)
On July 2 at Chase Field, Maybin hit a 485-foot shot to left-center field. Not only was it the longest home run of his career, but the second-longest at Chase Field since ESPN began tracking home runs in 2006.

Wall-Scraper of the Month: Shortest true distance HR
June Winner: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers (329 feet)
July Winner: Cody Ross, Boston Red Sox (338 feet)
On July 19 at Fenway Park, Ross hit an Addison Reed pitch into the monster seats for a walk-off home run. The 338-foot HR is the longest “wall-scarper” this season. It was Ross’ shortest home run since he hit one 337 feet off Hiroki Kuroda in 2008.

Moonshot of the Month: Highest apex HR (maximum vertical height ball reaches)
June Winner: Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds (152 feet)
July Winner: Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians (154 feet)
Hafner’s 363-foot HR off Ricky Romero on July 13 was the third-highest in 2012. The two home runs with higher apexes in 2012: 366-foot home run by Todd Helton on April 14 that had an apex of 162 feet, and a 419-foot bomb by Paul Goldschmidt on April 6 that reached a height of 156 feet.

Liner of the Month: Lowest apex HR
June Winner: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles (43 feet)
July Winners: Ryan Ludwick, Cincinnati Reds and Casey Kotchman, Cleveland Indians (47 feet)
Ludwick’s 361-foot HR on July 14 was his lowest apex since the beginning of the tracker in 2006. Kotchman’s 354-foot shot on July 4 also had an apex of 47 feet, the lowest at Progressive Field since May of 2010.

Mother Nature: Most climate-impacted HR
June Winner: Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds (+67 feet)
July Winner: Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies (+50 feet)
On July 28, the wind was blowing out at Coors Field when Michael Cuddyer’s 363-foot home run was aided by a 13 mph wind. That carried the ball an extra 50 feet. Only four home runs at Coors Field have been more wind-aided since 2006.

Masher of the Month: Player with greatest average distance (min. 5 HR)
June Winner: Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks (425.8 feet)
July Winner: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers (424.9 feet)
Cabrera’s nine home runs in July had an average distance of 424.9 feet, more than five feet more than the next closest player, Edwin Encarnacion. Four of Cabrera’s nine July home runs went at least 440 feet, including his 300th career HR, which went 457 feet.

Team Power Outage of the Month: Team with fewest HR
June Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers (6)
July Winner: San Francisco Giants (14)
After relinquishing the June award to their NL West rivals, the San Francisco Giants once again take the award for fewest home runs. The Giants hit just 14 in July, three more than the 11 the Giants hit in May. Only two of the Giants’ 14 HR in July were hit at home.

State of Diamondbacks: Similar to 2011?

July, 28, 2012

Getty Images/Jim McIsaac PhelpsJustin Upton and the Diamondbacks are hanging in the race for a postseason spot.

The epic end of the 2011 regular season will go down in baseball lore -- the Boston Red Sox's collapse, the Atlanta Braves’ faltering to lose the Wild Card, Evan Longoria's walk-off to put the Tampa Bay Rays in the postseason.

Lost in the amazement of Sept. 28 was the bigger picture before that, when the Arizona Diamondbacks staged a remarkable stretch run over the final 62 games to overtake the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.

The D'backs finished on a tear -- 41-21 (.661), including a nearly incredible 29-13 (.690) against NL West opponents. They went from trailing the Giants by four games to winning the division by eight.

Justin Upton, who had been averaging a home run every 27 plate appearances, lowered that frequency to 16 -- mostly by crushing fastballs at a .376 clip (after a respectable .318 earlier in the year). Gerardo Parra hit better than .300 for the final two months.

The team traded second basemen with Toronto, sending Kelly Johnson northward in exchange for Aaron Hill, who promptly led the team with a .315 batting average the rest of the season.

Ian Kennedy won 10 of his last 12 starts en route to a 21-4 overall record. As a team Arizona cut its strikeout-to-walk ratio from 2.53 to 2.11, and raised its on-base percentage from .314 to .336.

J.J. Putz converted his last 24 save opportunities, had an ERA equal to his WHIP (0.77), and averaged nearly 11 strikeouts per nine innings.

Could a similar charge by the Diamondbacks be in order this season?

Friday's 11-5 win against the Mets was Arizona’s 100th game of the season. And the 2012 numbers compare favorably to those at 100 games in 2011.

Despite three fewer wins, the team's batting average is 18 points higher, scoring is up slightly, and hitters are more patient than last season.

The remaining schedule is fairly light, with half of the games being against sub-.500 teams, including 16 against the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies, who bring up the rear of the division.

It remains to be seen whether this season holds similar Diamondbacks in the rough, but there are a few with potential.

Paul Goldschmidt has been feasting on left-handed pitching; his average (.368), slugging percentage (.755), and OPS (1.189) are all among the NL leaders.

Free-agent pickup Jason Kubel is your NL RBI leader with 72, and 11 of his 22 homers have come in July.

Kubel has been a lot more selective on inside pitches this season; his swing rate has gone down four points, and his average has jumped from .179 to .258. And after a slow start, Miguel Montero is hitting .331 since mid-June and chasing a lot fewer pitches out of the zone.

As 2011 taught a lot of teams, a 5-game lead in either the division or Wild Card can easily be overcome. So if the final pieces in the puzzle fall into place, the NL West could be an interesting division over these last 62 games.

Cruz crushes the ball to earn June HR award

July, 1, 2012
Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Getty ImagesNelson Cruz headlines the June awards with his 484-foot homer against the Angels.

ESPN's Home Run Tracker analyzes video of each home run hit this season and as far back as 2006. Each month, the tracker will detail the best and worst home runs, as well as some other interesting statistics pertaining to the long ball. Below are the notable home runs for the month of June (games through June 30).

No Doubter (Longest true distance)
May Winner: Justin Maxwell (471 feet)
June Winner: Nelson Cruz (484 feet)
Nelson Cruz’s 484-foot blast in Angel Stadium off Bobby Cassevah on June 3 is the longest home run hit this season. It is also Cruz’s longest home run of his career and the longest home run hit at Angel Stadium since the beginning of the ESPN Home Run Tracker in 2006.

Wall-Scraper (Shortest true distance)
May Winner: Jed Lowrie (330 feet)
June Winner: Adrian Beltre (329 feet)
Adrian Beltre drove a Brad Brach pitch off the bottom of the right field foul pole 329 feet in PETCO Park on June 19, giving the Rangers the first two June awards. The 329-foot homer is only the third home run to have a true distance of less than 330 feet this year.

Moonshot (Highest apex - maximum vertical height a ball reaches)
May Winner: Josh Hamilton (153 feet)
June Winner: Jay Bruce (152 feet)
Jay Bruce’s 392-foot home run off Joe Smith on June 18 had an apex of 152 feet, taking the award by one foot over Mark Trumbo, who hit a 364-foot homer on June 10 that had an apex of 151 feet.

Liner (Lowest apex)
May Winner: Adam Dunn (47 feet)
June Winner: Adam Jones (43 feet)
On June 23, Adam Jones hit a 354-foot home run off Edwin Jackson that had an apex of 43 feet and left Camden Yards in 3.06 seconds. It is the lowest apex of the season and lowest apex by an Oriole since the beginning of ESPN Home Run Tracker in 2006.

Fastball (Fastest speed off bat)
May Winner: Giancarlo Stanton (122.4 mph)
June Winner: Giancarlo Stanton (120.0 mph)
For the second month in a row, Giancarlo Stanton takes home the award for the homer with the fastest speed off the bat.

Server (Pitcher who allowed the greatest cumulative distance)
May Winner: Mike Minor
June Winner: Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas gave up 11 home runs in June, including a 457-foot bomb to Justin Upton on June 20. The 11 home runs allowed did not exactly help Vargas’ 7.34 June ERA.

Masher (Greatest average home run distance, min. five home runs)
May Winner: Mark Trumbo
June Winner: Miguel Montero
Miguel Montero’s five June home runs had an average distance of 425.8 feet, edging out Torii Hunter by 1.2 feet. Montero hit a 458-foot home run off Jarrod Parker on June 9 and a 447-foot home run off Yoshinori Tateyama on June 14, helping his cause.
The Milwaukee Brewers won the first two games at home, but the National League Divisional Series moves to Phoenix Tuesday night. This is the first time in franchise history that the Brewers have taken a 2-0 series lead. In four previous postseason series, the Brewers are just 1-4 with the chance to win a series.

The Arizona Diamondbacks send Josh Collmenter to the mound in an effort to extend the series. The righty faced the Brewers twice during the regular season without allowing a run or an extra-base hit in 14 innings.

The key for Collmenter will be shutting down Ryan Braun, who is 6-for-8 with three extra-base hits in the NLDS. During the regular season, Braun was hitless in six at-bats against Collmenter.

The Brewers counter with Shaun Marcum, who is also making his first postseason start. Marcum struggled down the stretch, with a 1-2 record and 6.66 ERA in his last four regular-season starts.

Miguel Montero is hitless so far in the NLDS, but is the only active Diamondback hitter with a home run off of Marcum. Justin Upton is 2-for-6 against the righty, but has also struck out three times.

The Brewers have struggled on the road during their previous postseason appearances. They have lost the last five games outside Milwaukee while allowing over a run a game more in playoff games away from home.

Since sweeping the Cubs in the 2007 NLDS, Arizona has dropped six straight postseason games. Returning to the desert could provide some relief, as the Diamondbacks are 9-6 in home playoff games.

TMI Power Poll: top 10 catchers

April, 12, 2010
Week 2 of the baseball season means poll number 2 for the TMI panel. This week we ranked which bearers of the “tools of ignorance” are hardest to ignore.

Catcher is the most demanding position in baseball. Taking hits from balls, bats, players - these human backstops have to also manage the game, keep their pitcher sane and at the same time be competent with a bat in their hands.

Who does it best? If you’ve watched any baseball the last few years you know it’s not really close. Joe Mauer hit .365 last season and through Sunday was hitting .381 this season. Oh, and he’s the 2-time reigning AL Gold Glover. He received all 8 first-place votes from our panel.

Here’s the rest of our top 10:

Others receiving votes: Miguel Olivo, Gerald Laird, Miguel Montero, Mike Napoli, Ryan Hanigan, Chris Iannetta, Ivan Rodriguez