Rafael Montero’s Goal Is To Make The Team

An article by posted on February 4, 2014

montero

Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger, got a chance to speak with Rafael Montero on Monday morning where he continues to train at the Mets academy in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.

The Mets’ righthander is planning to arrive to Port St. Lucie on February 15 and he has one primary objective. “The goal is to go and make the team,” said Montero. “But I don’t control that. Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins control that. I’ll go wherever they send me, to Triple-A or the majors, without a problem.”

During his phone interview, Castillo also addressed speculation that Montero may end up in the bullpen because of his smallish frame and ability to withstand the rigors of a full workload.

“I think he can handle being a starter,” said Mets Director of Latin American Juan Henderson, who has worked with Montero in Boca Chica this winter. “He’s got the build and a few good pitches, plus he’s a strike thrower. I think he can handle it. And he’s got a big heart. He’s a competitor.”

I don’t understand why these Montero to the bullpen murmurings keep popping up or even where they first surfaced. But anyone closely associated to the team and also rival scouts have spoken highly of Montero as a starter.

As to him making the team, it will be a daunting challenge for the young hurler to win a spot in the rotation when the team heads north.

With Jenrry Mejía the favorite for the fifth spot, and recent additions John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka also in camp to give him some competition, it would take an unexpected chain of events for Montero to come away with a spot on the 25 man roster.

With an astonishing ability to pinpoint his pitches, Montero posted a 3.05 ERA over 16 starts for Triple-A Las Vegas in 2013. Overall, he finished the season with a 2.78 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with 150 strikeouts and just 35 walks in 155.1 innings between the Triple-A and Double-A Binghamton.

One of the things I’m looking forward to in 2014 is the major league debut of both Montero and Noah Syndergaard. However, I wonder how much of a rush the Mets will be to promote either of them if the arms in the regular rotation are holding their own and pitching well.

Also, is there a possibility that Syndergaard, who has never pitched above Double-A, can leapfrog Montero and get promoted first?

I guess we’ll cross both those bridges when we come to them.

(Photo: MLB.com)

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