Montero Looks Like He Belongs, Says He’s Felt Ready For A While

montero

3:00 PM

Danny Knobler of ESPN writes that while Noah Syndergaard is the New York Mets pitching prospect that everyone has wanted to talk about, it is Rafael Montero who is the one most prepared to pitch in the major leagues now.

“His maturity is beyond his years as a pitcher,” Mets manager Terry Collins said as he anxiously awaited Montero’s big league debut on Wednesday night at Citi Field against the New York Yankees.

Montero isn’t just any kid just up from the minors, says Knobler, who scouts agree is most polished and ready to go with nothing left to prove in the minors.

The 23-year old righty, made 24 Triple-A starts at the very cruel Las Vegas, and amazingly defied the odds by posting a 3.25 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP with 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in the notorious hitting haven.

Knobler adds that there is also Montero’s personality which was on display when he arrived in the Mets clubhouse Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. He says that Montero looks like he belongs.

When Montero was asked if he felt ready for tonight, he smiled and said through an interpreter, “I’ve felt ready for a while now.”

12:00 PM

Here we are yet another Mets pitching prospect about to make his major league debut, and he brings with him maybe just as much hype as when Thor will finally makes his way to Queens later this summer. But can Rafael Montero handle the pressure of pitching in one of the most important series for the fans regarding bragging rights between Mets and Yankees and if so, will he be as dominant as the expectations may dictate.

No matter what happens between now and October, the fans use these games to measure up against their cross-town rivals, with the hope that their team will come out on top. And so far the Mets have lived up to it by winning their last six meetings against the Yankees and the last two in grand fashion outscoring the Bronx Bombers, 9-7 and 12-7.  The Mets pitching staff may not have been as dominating as their bats in this series, but that may all change on Wednesday night when Montero finally takes the mound in a big league game at Citi Field.

There can be an argument that no one knows what Montero will bring to the team, but just as when Zack Wheeler made his debut in 2013 and even Matt Harvey the year prior, the anticipation is what Montero have done so far, can translate to helping the team win. Even if he isn’t as dominant as Harvey was, the end result can be the same, winning baseball. 

There isn’t a better opportunity for Montero to showcase his talents, than to do so against the Yankees and the pressure does mount as he will be measured against the previous Mets pitching prospect debuts, especially the current 18.1 scoreless innings streak held by Matt Harvey, Collin McHugh and Zack Wheeler, in which they combined in their respective major league debuts.

The Dominican native who looks to live up to all the expectations, even has his new skipper excited about the impending debut, “The Dominican players nicknamed him ‘Little Pedro’ because he’s got a feel for it.” Terry Collins tells Brian Hoch of MLB.com, “Those are big statements. I don’t think he’s going to be intimidated. Obviously he might be a little anxious, but I think once he gets out there, he’s going to be who he is, because that’s his mentality.”

The sky is the limit for Montero and no matter what the outcome may be, we know that today is the start of the future finally arriving in Queens. This is just the beginning, especially with Jacob deGrom in the pen, who is sure to make his debut if not tonight then in a few days.

“All of the sudden, it brings energy to the clubhouse. They’re very excited to be here. They had a long flight. You’d have never known it. They’re flying a mile high right now, and some of the guys feed off that,” Collins tells beat writer Anthony DiComo.

There isn’t a better time to be a Mets fan than right now and I am excited to say, Welcome to the first of many Happy Montero Days!

iheartnym

About David Conde 205 Articles
David was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a lifelong Mets fan.
  • RyanF55

    I can’t wait….I’ve been high on him for 2 years now. He’s been so good in Vegas, which gives me more hope. From thin air band box to spacious Citi…recipe for success in my eyes. I’ll be in Section 510 tonight to watch what hopefully should be a great pitching matchup. I’ll take a 2-0 Met win 🙂 LGM.

  • BCleveland3381

    Yeah, maybe its a small thing, but it bugs me that every young pitcher that gets a start, gets the Matt Harvey “Happy Harvey Day” moniker attached to their start. That just kind of used to be a cool little thing for Harvey’s starts that are all watered down now.

    Like I said, a pretty small thing, and I’m pumped for Montero. He’s so underrated. He’s outperformed Syndergaard on every level of the minors, he’s just not overpowering with 96mph heat, so he doesn’t get the hype.

  • RyanF55

    I agree…I honestly never liked “Harvey Day” either. It was as if it was the one watchable day of Met baseball a week last year that they had to market the sh*t out of. Still, Montero has been so underrated and he’s pitched better than all the other prospects. He’s got some filthy stuff…kind of reminds me of a poor man’s Pedro Martinez in size and stuff…not quite the fastball.

  • Metfan9876

    Actually, he really didn’t outperform Thor in AA. Up until Syndergaard’s final start, his stats in Binghamton were better than Montero’s and his numbers are skewed because he had about 11 ( !!! ) days of rest before he made his final start and was clearly out of rhythm completely ( He gave up 8+ runs that day ).

  • MetsfanInParadise

    Didn’t get the job I wanted, didn’t get the car I wanted, counting the hours til I can forget all that and watch Mets baseball!!

  • BCleveland3381

    It was the one watchable day of Met baseball last year, LOL

  • sisk is a risk

    i hate to make a big deal out of any one particular game, but this game is a big deal.

  • Schnitzer’s Marble Rye

    Dia de Montero! Trying to keep expectations for tonight reasonable…I mean, the Mets are facing a pitcher they’ve never seen before, who’s 30-0 in his last 30 decisions lol..but I can’t wait..looking forward to seeing that sick Montero command and control! Lets climb over .500 and never look back…LGM!

  • billpulsipher

    Sandy hasnt announced a roster move yet? He just cant bring himself to DFA Valverde or Farnsworth…I’m sure he is in tears about the whole thing

  • amarksupreme

    yeah, things could be better on my end also, but really looking forward to tonights game

  • SinHalo27

    Looking forward to Montero’s debut tonight. Great professional demeanor. All he wants to do is pitch, pitch well and compete. Doesn’t matter who he’s facing- wouldn’t be surprised if he deals Tanaka his first L. There will be some great electricity in Flushing tonight! LGM!

  • John Ginder

    The fourth of many moves to come. Looking forward to seeing Montero pitch tonight (if work allows) and continue this momentum. I also hope that the game will be on SNY so I can have my GKR and not be forced to listen/watch YES broadcast.

  • Agee’s Catch

    ***King Smooth Day!

  • TPT

    have a great time bud… dont get food poisoning and like always LGM

  • NewYorkMammoths

    I could not be more pumped for Montero’s debut.

  • MyasDaddy

    Me either brother. I have been waiting since March.

  • 90orMore

    I truly believe Montero has a chance to be one of the Mets’ all-time greats.
    As an aside, this article is in need of some serious copyediting…

  • KennyandtheMets

    Thank you. One or two mistakes is fine, but I counted at least 5 errors.

  • Rocky Thompson

    IMO you are seeing things that just do not exist. The decision to DFA Valverde has already been made, it just has not been announced. Not sure why you think this is such a tough decision for Sandy. Additionally, why are you so sure Sandy, a former U.S. Marine, is in tears about having to make this move?

  • Mets4ever

    Can’t wait. Looking forward to seeing Raphael up close and personal tonight. Than bringing my broom on Thursday for the sweep! LGM!

  • CyYout

    This is what I mean about putting guys in situations to succeed. If Montero gets beat up a little bit and loses — hey it’s the Yankees and Tanaka has been literally unbeatable so no big deal. If, on the other hand, he gets a W and personally gift wraps and delivers Tanaka’s first loss in more than two years, there’s no better way to make his introductions.

  • Lotus1209

    Dont feed trolls

  • Mets4ever

    412 tonight and tomorrow my fellow Met bro. LGM

  • Anthony

    Go montero seize the oppurtunity young man. Lgm

  • Pedro’s Rooster

    A little oops on using dominate instead of dominant, but an enjoyable article nonetheless.

    One of the many great things about MMO is that on the rare occasions that they have a cosmetic mishap like this, the content itself is still strong.

    It’s when I read third-grade articles with first-grade spelling (say, at other Mets-themed sites) that I start to see red. 🙂

  • Jgreen

    Welcome to big league Montero! Do what you are here to do!

  • Pedro’s Rooster

    Maybe the author is the product of the Philadelphia school system. 😉

  • Metropolitan

    Another Omar guy who is giving us something to look forward too and give some hope…

  • Big Daddy D

    Predicting the line:
    5IP 1ER 7K, 1BB

  • Certainly not a product of those amazing Colorado schools that Mike Hampton’s kids enjoyed for a few years.

  • agetting

    making that prediction off a complete wimb?

  • NHMetsFan

    Excellent point. Having watched Montero (& Thor) last year when the B-Mets played here in NH I have a lot of confidence in the both of them. And if Montero does beat Tanaka, I bet the Red Sox fans I’m surrounded by might just buy me a beer in celebration!

  • George_Theodore

    yes, finally on SNY! the last two nights were brutal watching the Yankee announcers

  • nugrous8

    Was signed in January ’11; Alderson at the helm then

  • Fonzie

    Been looking forward to this for 2 years. Smart to pitch him at home instead of that wiffleball park.

  • Metropolitan

    hahahahhahahaha!Come on now you must know the story by now…any Met fan does

  • RyanF55

    Nice…is that Mez or upper box? I usually sit in 123 haha but I was priced out for these Yankee fans…

  • RyanF55

    Hahah I’ll steer clear of Shake Shack

  • SRT

    Looking forward to Montero’s debut tonight.

  • Fonzie

    Yep. Ismael Cruz decided to sign a dozen other IFA’s instead of Montero. Luckily no one else grabbed him and Alderson did.

  • Mets4ever

    Promenade. Used to have section 424. Gave up seats couple yrs back. Now just buy on stub hub

  • RyanF55

    I hear ya. I’m dumb enough to keep buying the ticket plan.

  • NewYorkMammoths
  • 90orMore

    Nice.

  • 90orMore

    Agreed–nearly all content on MMO is at least worth checking out.

  • 90orMore

    I wonder how those Hampton boys turned out…

  • Peter S

    Be interesting to see how the Yanks approach Montero. He throws a ton of strikes and the Yanks are historically very patient. Being patient with Montero could be a mistake. I think they will come out hacking right away.

  • Mike

    Montero was one of sa first international signees

  • Mike

    Did Omar sign him…..no……did Sandy……yes…..end of conversation

  • Just_Da_damaja

    nope.

    Montero’s paperwork was held up at the time of signing.

    Depo said that when he was hired, they were waiting on documents to get cleared up before they could make an official offer.

    Sorry champ. But Montero is an Omar guy.

    Ismael Cruz was subsequently fired months later.

    who is running our IFA scouting now u ask?

    who else but Chris Beccerra !

    Chris had absolutely NO experience running a staff before coming here and was a scout for 2 years in the bay area under JP in Toronto.

    here is Chris’s resume
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chris-becerra/6/ba6/6b4

    now lets compare that to Ismael Cruz’s resume

    Cruz was a player / manager before he got into scouting.

    then Cruz scouted for the pirates and reds in colombia…
    then was scouting director for the expos / natonals in DR until 2006.
    then came to the mets and was scouting director from 2007-2011.

    now he’s in toronto, working for his old employee ( Alex A, who worked under Cruz in Montreal )

    sounds like a baseball guy…

    we signed Montero in Jan 2011 and it took about 2 years before he made some noise…

    how many IFA’s signed under Chris Becerra have done what Montero has done since then?

  • We really can’t wait a few days to at least overreact to one start as opposed to overreacting to their complete lack of major league innings?

  • Derpy

    Failing to start Lagares, again, is unacceptable. Terry Collins should be banned from MLB for disgracing the game. Where is Brian McCann when you need him?

    While Terry is at it, he should bench David Wright every other game. Lets just roll with team B squad. If you’re the best player at your position on the team, guess what? YOU’RE BENCHED! You really think Harvey is benched from injury? LOL NO. That’s just Terry’s way of favoring the underdog. Boo talent, yes underdog! Go team B squad!

  • Andrew Herbst

    I’m really looking forward to Montero’s debut. I was very impressed with him in spring training.

  • TheMetsMachine

    I just posted this in another thread in regards to our outfield:

    EY is in there as the lead off guy which he has earned – the guy has
    scored 28 runs on 28 hits…I don’t care if he is hitting .245, do you
    know why? He has scored as many runs as the guy with 49 hits, that’s
    what makes EYJ good. I’ll say it again EYJ is the only lead off hitter
    on this team (17-11 with him leading off with 30 stolen bases, when not
    leading off 2-8 with 3 stolen bases).

    To me the 3 starting outfielders
    are EYJ (for his lead off ability, Lagares (for his defensive ability at
    Center, and Granderson (for the 64 million he was give). Chris Young
    is the perfect 4th outfielder, power bat off the bench.

  • TheMetsMachine

    Yes, but Omar scouted him and recruited him to the Mets. All Anderson did was stand next to Montero when he signed the paper – if you want to give him credit for that, great! But let’s not kid ourselves.

  • Derpy

    EYJ is barely the 5th best outfielder on the current squad. He has no business starting games. Facts are facts. Him starting in front of Lagares is like Tejada starting in front of David Wright.

    PS: Lagares being benched as long as he has to far this season has cost the Mets 1 win. So if they thought they were a 90 win team going in (which is laughable, but lets roll with it) they are now a 89 win team. Thanks, Terry.

  • Not4

    Where’s the fun in that? Now we can overreact twice!

  • TheMetsMachine

    Facts:
    EYJ leading off: 17-11 with 30 stolen bases
    EYJ not leading off: 2-8 with 3 stolen bases.

    EYJ 28 runs scored on 28 hits, 15 stolen bases, 4 of the throws to throw him out were rushed so bad that he ended up on 3rd base.

    So where are your facts about Tejada having a 17-11 record starting and David wright 2-8 record? Or are you calling facts now – talking out of your ass??

    Just wondering – if you don’t have facts don’t call them facts.

    and FYI Chris young is starting in Center over Legares.

  • Not4

    Can you share the link about the Montero being effectively signed months before but waiting paperwork?

    Thanks

  • Not4

    Sort of like Gremlins, huh?

  • Derpy

    Oh please. Go sing the small sample size song to yourself. You don’t bench superior talent in order to play drastically inferior players.

  • TheMetsMachine

    Chris Young is superior talent? You’ve been living in the basement for 4 years? He is a bench player, he has no business starting over EYJ.

  • Derpy

    EY is playing way over his head, CY is playing poorly, and they are basically the same. That is the difference. CY has upside. EY doesn’t. EY is a CLASSIC 4th outfielder.

    There is no such thing as a leadoff hitter in modern baseball. It is a myth perpetuated by ridiculously out of touch old people. In modern baseball it simply does not exist. Just like there is no such thing as a 2 hitter or a three hitter or a cleanup hitter. This isn’t 1960, this is 2014. Those roles don’t exist anymore. Just like we don’t have pitchers throwing complete games on a daily basis or four man rotations. Just like we now have specialist relief pitchers. We now have a totally different lineup construction, and the idea of a leadoff hitter is simply laughable.

  • muskytoes

    Having Recker behind the plate could benefit Montero. Not to wish TDA any long lasting effects from that bonk on the head last night, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Recker catching deGrom’s debut tomorrow either. Maybe it’s just me, but TDA seems to be regressing back to the “child among men” form and is hardly exhibiting the confidence of a field general needed with two kids making their major league debuts.

  • Mike

    Oh please if Omar wanted him so bad he would have signed him himself? The guy was 20? He could have signed him at any point in his tenure. These guys usually get signed at 16. You Omar defenders are a rare breed.

  • TPT

    sorry your wrong and we didnt start winning again until he was put back into line up …and its impossible to please everyone if you bench CY Lagares or EY you have fans that can argue for ea of their cases to be playing, but when the dust settles you do whats working for you and right now EY is working out just fine

  • TPT

    if a guy is playing way over his head guess what? YOU PLAY HIM TILL HE COMES BACK DOWN TO EARTH sorry you make no sense …i dont get you if a guys playing over his head you bench him lol ?? whoa

  • mad met

    Check out mets record when recker starts .100% agree with u more recker

  • mad met

    90% with u. Cy can have some of the windmills at bats when he starts striking out again

  • mad met

    He will not start over juan … he will start over cy

  • mad met

    Spot on

  • mad met

    Its not a small sample they win with ey in lineup. Even more so with recker go look up the numbers

  • mad met

    Love the attitude montero and harvey bring to the mound ..hope thor and degrom are the same breed

  • KEITH

    Good luck kid! Talk about pressure!

  • Derpy

    The lineup will never score more runs by substituting EY for Lagares, it will only score fewer runs. The defense will also allow more runs by putting in EY over Lagares. This team is worse, both offensively and defensively, by benching Lagares and playing EY.

  • Derpy

    EY playing way over his head is still nowhere near the value of Lagares. Not even on the same planet. The mets outfield could be Trout, Stanton, and McCutchen and Terry Collins would still be saying “we need to find EY at bats!” No. Play the superior talent. This isn’t little league.

  • Derpy

    No, Lagares, the best player on the team, is getting benched and EY, the fifth best outfielder, is playing. That means EY is taking his spot on the lineup.

  • Metfan9876

    I disagree. EYJ should be starting AT THE MOMENT ( he’s hot, let him play ) but not over Lagares. Eric should be starting over CY with Lagares in center and Granderson in right.

  • Metfan9876

    It doesn’t matter. Alderson signed him, so he’s responsible for him being on the team. Sandy didn’t have to sign him, he could have passed. Besides, it doesn’t matter who got him anyway because he’s still on the Mets either way!

  • Monix

    You lose all credibility with “Lagares, the best player on the team…’

  • HarveyKsYou

    That I agree with. CY is very bad.

  • Derpy

    You want to say David Wright is? I can roll with that. In which case Lagares is the second best. Nobody else is even close.

  • Monix

    Lagares is unproven. One hot month doesn’t mean he’s a .300 hitter. I still think he’s closer to a .250 hitter. He’s another Franklin Gutierrez until he proves otherwise.

  • metsfansince64

    Montero is probably thrilled to be out of Las Vegas, and at a stadium where you actually have to earn your home runs, and a curve ball behaves like a curve ball.

  • Just_Da_damaja

    @metsmerizedonline:disqus had confirmed it on MMO back last year with Depo himself.

  • metsman

    Time to show the Yankees what a real Montero prospect looks like.

  • Not4

    I believe you, just would love to see a link to support it.

  • TPT

    all i know is and all i need to is you said EY IS PLAYING OVER HIS HEAD those are your words…. so that means you would bench a guy thats playing lights so your logic is ridiculous and enough said

  • TheMetsMachine

    I guess you never heard of Daniel Murphy, you are the only one in the planet that would take Lagares over Murphy.

  • Hotstreak

    Make no mistake he wears a Sandy dogtag. Lets see how bad Omar f**kd up

  • TheMetsMachine

    Montero didn’t start playing baseball until he was almost 17, nobody knew who he was until Omar found him.

  • Derpy

    You have to be certifiably insane to put Murphy over Lagares. Lagares’ defense alone is greater than everything Murphy could ever contribute, then Lagares has offense on top of it. They aren’t in the same class. Not even close. Lagares is elite in the field. Elite. No other player on this team is elite at anything.

  • Just_Da_damaja

    i tried to look it up on MMO but all the comments got erased when they switched to discus.

    Joe actually got it out the horses mouth too.

  • What??

  • Derpy

    How is that EY defense? Yup, he is sure working for the Mets.

  • Not4

    Gotcha. Thanks for checking.

  • KennyandtheMets

    You mean the school system I teach in?

  • Fonzie

    Sorry Champ Teddy Klein confirmed Joe D was wrong. Had nothing to do with paperwork, he was passed over for 12 younger guys. Cruz had every chance to sign him but failed to.

  • Fonzie

    He has no link because he’s full of it. Montero was left unsigned in favor of 12 other much younger IFA’s. Could’ve been an Omar guy had Cruz signed him over one of the other scrubs. There’s been so many conflicting stories about Montero from paperwork, Omar got canned right before, even though 12 others signed at the time and some use the birth certificate line of BS. There was even a link posted from am N.J. paper that credited Sandy with Montero because Sandy put an emphasis on making sure the older IFA’s don’t get left unsigned because of age.

  • Fonzie

    http://www.nj.com/mets/index.ssf/2013/02/mets_rafael_montero_realizing.html

    He has no link. He has word of mouth from Joe D who was mistaken as Teddy Klein even confirmed.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    What does that mean?

  • Not4

    Thanks Fonzie. I appreciate the link to the recent article. I did a quick search and could not find anything contemporaneous with when he signed. More curious now than anything else.

    Big picture I really don’t care which GM signed whom – all I care about is whether we have a stocked farm system that can produce and sustain a winning team for the Mets.

    I don’t know the reason why some feel the need to constantly either bash Alderson or build up Minaya – maybe an inferiority complex or maybe their related to Minaya, or maybe they just blindly hate the current GM. Either way, it does not change the facts. The first of which is that Minaya was not a zero-sum gain. He did a lot of good in his two tenures with the Mets, particularly with his scouting of players and some of his International signings. He also left the franchise is a seriously precarious place, with a largely depleted farm system and not a great MLB ball club. The fact that the Wilpons had their financial crises at the same time only exacerbated the situation.

    The fact that several of the guys he signed are coming up to help the team just underscores that he was far from a zero-sum gain and has done a lot to help the team. But a handful of prospects finally hitting do not change the fact that the farm system was very thin when he was ousted – probably the result of the win-now (we’re just a piece or two away from winning) approach that led to losing several top draft picks. It just seemed that Minaya lost his focus on re-stocking the farm system and did a poor job of developing the prospects we had. I thought under his regime the Mets rushed too many players and seriously set back their development, with Lagares being a good example. He stagnated in the minors after being rushed. Some of the blame for the state of the farm system when Omar left also lies with ownership who, as I understand it, were the reason the Mets would not go overslot in the draft when most other teams were doing so (back when you could spend freely in the draft). That hurt and was only partially offset by international signings, as many other teams did both.

    A strong farm system is the key to success and I think the current GM has done a nice job of making that a priority, and a key reason behind our resurgence. Only time will tell whether the current front office is any good at scouting and drafting, but the reality is that drafting players is oftentimes a crap shoot. Ones you expect to be great suck and others come out of nowhere to surprise.