The Mets opened their Grapefruit League season on Friday, and while they suffered a 5-4 loss to the Nationals, they did get two very encouraging performances from Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom, both of whom are hoping for a chance to crack the Opening Day roster or at the very least leave a lasting impression.
Montero started the game for the Mets and delivered a two inning, no hit, no run performance striking out two and walking none. Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche were his strikeout victims. The young control artist was very happy with his outing.
“I liked that I kept my pitch count down,” Montero said through an interpreter. “That’s what I try to do every time I get out there.”
Montero pitched with Las Vegas (AAA) in 2013 and went 5-4, with a 3.05 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 88.2 innings over 16 starts.
Jacob deGrom followed Montero and didn’t disappoint as he delivered a standout performance of his own. In his Spring debut, the long-haired righthander also tossed two perfect innings while striking out four.
“I was nervous. I had some butterflies,” deGrom said. “But I feel like everybody does when they get out there to pitch. I didn’t really think about it a whole lot. My whole focus was trying to locate. I feel like good location is the key to pitching.”
In 2013, deGrom pitched with St. Lucie (A+), Binghamton (AA), and Las Vegas (AAA) and combined to go 7-7 with a 4.51 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 147.2 innings.
It was great to see both of these prospects burst out of the gate with perfect outings. I kind of expected Montero to look dominating on the mound – and he was – but I was very surprised to see deGrom look so overpowering as well.
They each have very long odds of making the team, but you can expect them to make their major league debuts at some point this season.