2014 Mets Top Prospects: No. 3 Rafael Montero, RHP

Top 25 Prospects montero 3

3. Rafael Montero, RHP

Height: 6’0”
Weight: 170 lbs.
Age: 23
Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Rafael Montero was signed a lot later than international prospects usually are. Most are signed when they turn 16 or 17 years old but the Mets signed him out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 20. You could call him a trailblazer because in three seasons he’s progressed through the entire system; a testament to how advanced a pitcher he is for his age. Although he won’t ever have the stuff for the top of the rotation, he shows an incredible feel for his craft, featuring three pitches he can throw with constant precision. On his 2013 MLB.com scouting report his fastball is graded as above average right now with the potential to be a future plus pitch. I wouldn’t go that far as his fastball sits in the low 90’s with life and occasionally touches 95 mph but it can certainly be an above average pitch at the major league level, especially with the way he commands it. His slider and changeup have the potential to be at least average offerings that will complement his fastball very well.

What makes Montero stand out as a prospect is his impeccable control and command. Watching him pitch, it just seems like he puts the baseball exactly where he wants it. In 16 games in Las Vegas last season, Montero did the unthinkable; put up gaudy numbers in the hitter’s paradise that is Cashman Field. In 88.1 IP, he registered a 3.05 ERA, 1.24 WHIP with a 78:25 K:BB ratio. That just goes to show how good of an actual pitcher he his. He’s a small kid, standing at 6’0” and weighing in at 170 lbs., which might raise some questions about his durability as a starter. However, up to this point, he hasn’t had any injury troubles. He delivery is nice and easy and he uses his core well so his arm looks like it will hold up in a rotation without difficulty. His ceiling isn’t close to that of Syndergaard’s but Montero may be more major league ready at the moment.

Outlook: Montero has the stuff and pitchability to be a very good number 3 or 4 starter. His feel for pitching and pristine command could mean he has the ability to make an impact right away. Most pitcher’s need some time to learn how to work major league hitters but I think Montero’s ability to pitch really stood out in Las Vegas, meaning he could have a very short adjustment period in the majors. If there is an injury to the Mets rotation in the first half of the season, I would bet Montero is called up before Syndergaard. He’s more big league ready and the Mets will want to preserve Syndergaard’s Super Two status over Montero’s. There were rumors that the Mets might move Montero in a trade this offseason to acquire a bat but it looks as if that will not be the case. It would be wise to let him prove his worth at the big league level first anyway because I don’t think many clubs are as high on him as the Mets, even though they should be. When next offseason rolls around and the Mets get Harvey back, I could very much see a scenario in which Montero gets moved because, barring any more injuries, the Mets will simply have an excess of pitchers to try and fit into a rotation; a very, very good problem to have. However, Montero might not be the one to be moved. It could be Dillon Gee. It Could be Jon Niese. Hell, it could be Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler. It might even be nobody. Regardless, it will be remarkably interesting to see how Montero’s future and the rest of the Mets rotation plays out in a season or two.

MMO TOP 25 PROSPECTS

25. Wilfredo Tovar, SS

24. Juan Centeno, C

23. Cory Mazzoni, RHP

22. Jeff Walters, RHP

21. Jack Leathersich, LHP

20. Luis Mateo, RHP

19. Jayce Boyd, 1B

18. Domingo Tapia, RHP

17. Gabriel Ynoa, RHP

16. Vic Black, RHP

15. Michael Fulmer, RHP

14. Jeurys Familia, RHP

13. Dilson Herrera, 2B

12. Jake deGrom, RHP

11. Gavin Cecchini, SS

10. Steven Matz, LHP

9. Brandon Nimmo, CF

8. Amed Rosario, SS

7. Cesar Puello, OF

6. Wilmer Flores, 2B

5. Kevin Plawecki, C

4. Dominic Smith, 1B

3. Rafael Montero, RHP

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Presented By Diehards

  • mets2014

    it would be down right stupid to throw Montero into a package right now…he would prove more valuable as a number 4 or 5 for the next three seasons making the minimum…when he is due for a raise, then you re-evaluate his situation…it would be wiser to deal Gee this season since he is getting to a point in his career where his salary may surpass his value to the mets…my point is as early as next season, gee may be battling for the number 5 spot, but he could very well be a borderline 3 more likely a 4 on many other teams and his salary would be more appropriate

  • Alex68

    Rafael Quezada Montero… imho, our next ACE. a guy that throws strikes usually becomes a pretty good pitcher in the majors. he’s got the ability and the will to be great. he’s dominated everywhere he’s been in the minors. it is just a matter of time for him to come up and helps us win many games. i think he’ll be the 1B to Harvey 1A.

  • Biggle Boy

    I only saw Montero pitch a few innings but his control was certainly impressive. He had some good movement on his slider and change. Control plus movement is enough to be successful, without needing to throw 95.

  • mad met

    Just like any thing else what would you get back in return is the question

  • Alex68

    Don’t forget though, he does throw 95 when he needs to.. his pitches got movement and he can throw all of them for strikes… there’s something about him that reminds me of another kid we have who was pegged to be a #3 at best and is our current ACE..

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    STUD!

    Pedro Martinez bulldog mentality on the mound minus the jheri curls 😉

  • mets2014

    I think gee would fetch more especially if you deal him come the trade deadline…I think contending teams will be lining up to get a team controlled pitcher with major league experience more than an unproven commodity

  • Alex68

    Lmao.. well said… Leroy, i think pitching wise, we’re in really, really good shape going forwards… a lot of good arms in the starting rotation and good live arms in the bullpen…

  • Agee’s Catch

    1C would be Thor? I think sometime soon, Neise or Gee become very expendable.

  • Alex68

    I like Gee, if (maybe a matter of when) the mets are out of it come July, teams might be asking for him, but i wouldn’t trade him unless is a good prospect. i think Gee will have a good season this year

  • Martin

    The mets have a wealth of pitching. At least 7 solid starters. This is why the mets will chase the wildcard.

  • Alex68

    Would it be bad to have Wheeler 2A and Thor 2B? i mean, 4 pitchers who are very, very good can only help us going forward..

  • I think Montero is part of deal next offseason. If it’s a matter of him or Syndergaard, it’s going to be him.

  • Dark HelMet

    None of your numbers or letters matter if they’re all pitching as well as they can.

  • I think if Gee has a good year, they should extend him. It would be nice to have a homegrown veteran to lead the younger guys.

  • Dark HelMet

    Ah so you’ve got a Gee crush. Is that why you think Montero will be dealt and not Gee? I kinda think it’ll be Gee and even Niese. Possibly Flores as well. Those 3 guys can fetch a pretty nice return. To be fair, I like Gee, too, and think he’s underrated.. but Montero stands to be a much better option if you’d have to choose.

  • DrDooby

    Actually, Bartolo Colon may well be the best comparable at the major league level for the type of pitcher Rafael Montero could become one day. Minus the PED (hopefully) and minus roughly 100 pounds in a similar frame.

    A pitcher with plus command who dominates the strikezone by moving fastballs up & down & in & out with merely average complementary stuff.

    Since I suppose that Mejia gets the first crack at a rotation gig (backed up by Dice-K & Lannan), the Mets figure to delay Montero´s MLB arrival till at least late April to get an extra year of service team and thus control him through at least through 2020. However, from then on, he should be on standby.

    The question for him is whether he´ll be able to put away hitters without an above average secondary pitch in his repertoire. Neither the slider nor the changeup from what has been said & written is such a pitch at this point. Colon doesn´t really need it either, so you can be very good without it, but the risk is too many foul balls at the major league level. Something that hurt John Maine a lot during his time here. Of course, Maine´s fastball command wasn´t as good as Montero´s. And until the injuries, Maine certainly performed like a very solid # 3 caliber SP. But developing one plus secondary offering could really elevate Montero´s ceiling.

  • I have a huge Gee crush. If they prove themselves at the major league level, teams will find Montero/Syndergaard/Wheeler much more attractive because they’ll be a lot cheaper for a lot longer. Gee just hit his first year of arbitration so he’s only going to get more expensive so teams wouldn’t offer up that much to get him. I could see Niese in a deal as well but I wouldn’t advise it because he’s their only lefty at the moment.

    I have piece coming out on what I think the rotation will look like in 2016, keep an eye out for it.

  • Dark HelMet

    All I know is that list better have Matz on it, son.

  • mets2014

    they will have so many other movable pieces that they should be able to keep the young arms…gee, colon, parnell & murphy (perhaps c young, davis & duda) all should have very good value at the trade deadline and could fill most if not all of the holes they currently have…the remaining holes can be addressed by signing free agents next off season

  • The young arms are much more coveted than all of the pieces you mentioned though. If they can get a real impact bat with them, I would probably pull the trigger. All of those other guys you mentioned would be good pieces to bring in prospects.

  • Matz is mentioned but I didn’t go in depth because he’s still in the low minors. There’s a lot of pitchers ahead of him at the moment.

  • mad met

    July huh ? Think it will last that long

  • mad met

    I don’t disagree but if someone is offering a difference maker say Stanton I’m listening

  • mets2014

    I am talking specifically at the trade deadline…I would think contending teams would opt for the major league pitcher over the prospect for the stretch run

  • mets2014

    i was talking more in terms of making deals at the trade deadline with contending teams…i agree if the mets were to go after Stanton they would have to deal thor instead of gee, which wouldn’t happen until next offseason

  • Tommy

    If the Mets are smart (obviously he has to be able to get major league hitters out first, which I believe he will), they will keep him & hopefully Gee has another solid year & can be moved! I really believe Montero is going to be a special pitcher! Maybe not a #1, but a solid #2!

  • Sorry, I didn’t know you were talking specifically at the deadline. In that case, they would probably want major league talent but the Mets would likely only see prospects in return. A contending team wouldn’t give up any major league talent to acquire major league talent if they’re contending.

  • Pete, it is sad that this top 25 is coming to an end. The energy, insight and information you packed in each piece has been incredibly enjoyable to read. Your grasp and mastery of our minor league system is quite apparent and it’s great to have you join Mitch, David, Teddy, Kirk and others as part of our tremendous Mets Minors team providing comprehensive and intuitive minor league analysis and not sparsely, but virtually every single day off season and on. Thanks for spearheading our MMO Top 25 Prospects this year, by far our best effort in our ten year history. Well done, sir.

  • 2aSupport

    I agree. I think Flores, and one of Gee or Niese will be dealt at some point.

  • Alex68

    Thanks for spearheading our MMO Top 25 Prospects this year, by far our best effort in our ten year history. Well done, sir.”

    The guy who wrote “sandy had a good day” and the “Urinal” piece disagree.. those were masterpieces lol…

  • agetting

    minus the actual repertiore and stuff as well

  • mets2014

    i think they can get some major league ready talent, not necessarily studs for those pieces…to me it would be counter productive to deal these young arms that they have worked so hard to acquire

  • Fast Eddie

    Montero may indeed be the next Colon, in which case I’d hope that Colon has a good first half and can be dealt to a contender in July for prospects. At that point Montero, if he’s doing well in Vegas, can be elevated to the big club for the second half of the season.

    The one Mets SP I don’t want traded is Niese, principally because he’s a lefty. Except for Matz, who is a couple of years away, the Mets don’t have a left-handed SP prospect in the organization. If Niese continues to pitch well in the #3 slot behind Wheeler and Gee and in front of Mejia, they should still be looking for another southpaw for the #5 role. And, no, John Lannon is not going to be that guy.

    In 2015 the Mets could have a lopsided staff of Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Syndergaard, Montero and Gee. Talented, yes, but still in need of a second lefty to balance things out. Most likely to be traded for a quality southpaw: Gee and Montero.

    Veloz

  • oleosmirf

    Agreed. Ideally both Gee and Colon are moved to make room for Montero and Syndergaard with Murphy being moved to make room for Flores.

    The prospects the Mets would receive in those three deals (in addition to what we have now) should give the Mets more than enough total prospects where they can make a major acquisition (like Stanton, CarGo, etc.)

  • oleosmirf

    The issue with Gee is that it is unlikely for him to get much better than he is now and with the Mets financial issues, it’s hard to justify keeping Gee when they can replace Gee with Montero or Syndergaard, who can be almost as good as Gee is from their first start with the potential to be far better.

    Montero + whatever you get in return for Gee plus the 5 mil cash savings is far more valuable than keeping Gee.

  • Destry

    Montero is vastly underrated. He could settle is as a #2 when all is said and done. If his smallish frame can withstand a starters workload year after year, then we have a good one. I see Colon, Niese, Gee & Mejia being moved in a trade before they move Montero.

  • Yeah, the price is really my only concern. Something tells me he won’t cost too much and I’d guess he’d take a discount to stay with the team that drafted him.

  • Thanks, Joe. Really appreciate it. It was a project that I looked forward to working on every day and I would love the opportunity to do it next season as well.

  • chago

    Montero is probably my favorite prospect to follow the last few years can’t wait till he reaches the show . My next favorite pitching prospect to keep tabs on now that Montero is so close to pay dirt is Casey Meisner he could be our next big top of the rotation hopeful. Watch for him to start making some noise this year.

  • chago

    “If it’s a matter of him or Syndergaard, it’s going to be him.”

    I agree on that but if it is Montero or Wheeler I rather keep Montero.

  • I am excited to finally see Montero with the Mets this year. I like that other teams value him less because it means he stays with us. And I think he will produce at a very high level for us.

  • Dark HelMet

    My god why

  • Fonzie

    The guy who cries about being baited continues to bait jessep even though he rarely even comments anymore. Good to see you’re still a disgrace to this site.

  • Jack

    My dream rotation for years to come if they all reach their potential. 1) Harvey 2) Syndergaard 3) Wheeler 4) Mejia 5) Montero. I would trade some of the other pitchers for great bats or for pitching depth. The only problem is that none of these guys are lefties but if they all dominate it shouldn’t be a problem. Plus we have Niese and Matz could be a really good pitcher.

  • Agee’s Catch

    Numbering starters is subjective. It all depends who else you have on staff. Would you have called john smoltz a #3 starter?

  • Alex68

    At least i am not a ra(ist like you…

  • Fonzie

    Then why do you call white people Wonder bread.

    Why do you bash Wright for choking but praise the biggest choke artist on the team, (Reyes) when he was here. Bashing the white GM before he even started the job. Say Familia is going to be better than Harvey and Wheeler despite not being in either pitcher’s class, especially Harvey. Say Montero is better than Syndergaard and Wheeler. Hmm, could it be a DR connection. You, Jimmy and Damaja are the ra€ists of this site. My mother was born and raised in Ponce PR. Guess what that makes me. Half of what I called you. Judging by the record number of thumbs down you get everyday, it’s clear as day who’s the most disliked person on this site. As you can see there are 80% less flame wars without bayone mut fan, jerkoff jimmy and metsie. Get rid of you and that number rises to 99.9%. Luckily we have a lot of intelligent Met fans that came over from Metsblog to drown you out. Thanks for reading and commenting, loser.

  • paqza

    Incidentally, Niese is a better pitcher than Gee. They’ve got similar career numbers but Niese has the higher ceiling. With respect to having that 6 man with only one lefty, it’s no problem. Harvey, for example, is actually better against lefties than righties, and he’s pretty good against righties. The others seem like guys who could get lefties out, too.

  • paqza

    Ahh, so Jenrry Mejía!

  • paqza

    And I can’t wait until Warthen teaches him and Syndergaard his signature slider. Both Harvey and Mejía turned into different pitchers once they started throwing the Warthen special.

  • paqza

    Of course, with his control, he could also be our riposte to Mariano. Small dude with a bulldog mentality, control, and the ability to throw it in there mid 90s consistently in short stints? I’m a fan.

  • paqza

    Smoltz was a #1.

  • paqza

    Eh. Wheeler has more value right now, especially if he has a strong 1st half. I could see him headlining a package for Tulowitzki moving forward. A rotation of Wheeler, Butler, and Gray would have as much upside as any front three in the game.