DePodesta On Montero and Pitchers Jumping From Double-A To Majors

Rafael Montero by MMO Contributor and Photographer Gordon Donovan.

Updated by Joe D. on 4/24

It’s almost word for word from what Mitch wrote yesterday, but here is what VP of Player Development Paul DePodesta had to say about Rafael Montero:

“His fastball is very advanced right now, but the secondary pitches need to continue to get better,” DePodesta says.

“He just needs to face better hitters, and he needs to face some adversity. And I think he will… We’ve already sped the development of the player up quite a bit, and he has responded to it very well.”

Can a pitcher make the jump from Double-A to the majors?

“It all depends on the individual,” DePodesta says. “There are guys who can make that jump from Double A to the big leagues with little or no time at Triple-A, and there are guys who need some or even significant time at Triple-A.”

By the way, we are actually chasing down Paul DePodesta at Citi Field. Got off the phone with John and told him to seek him out and emailed him 4-5 questions to ask.

Stay tuned…

Original Post 4/23

In case you missed the feature on MMO about Rafael Montero on Saturday, I posed the question on whether or not it was possible that Montero actually makes it to Flushing before Zack Wheeler:

“Never thought I would be pondering this question, but if Montero keeps up this pace, is there a chance that we will see him in Citi Field before Wheeler?

The answer is yes, it is a definite possibility.”

That was written after another dominating performance by Montero, where he struck out six batters and walked none. That brought his season totals to 27 Ks and one walk. I couldn’t do that in a game of MLB The Show, and here is Montero, putting these numbers up in real life.

Once he got to Double-A, his numbers were supposed to dip a bit as he made an adjustment to a higher level of hitters – the complete opposite has taken place. He has made the jump up to Double-A look as if it was a step down. And how should the Mets reward Montero if he continues this utter dominance? How about a promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas?

Heck No.

The last thing the Mets should do is promote Montero to Las Vegas. The only reason why he would have to stop in at Triple-A, would be if he needed to continue working on mastering the strike zone. The difference in facing Double-A hitters and Triple-A hitters isn’t great – and actually very similar to the difference between Low-A and High-A ball hitters.

Montero has already mastered the strike zone. Montero is already a great pitcher.

He needs a few more starts in Double-A, but if he continues this dominance then you bump Montero straight to Flushing with no layovers in Vegas.

Why send this dynamite talent to a notorious hitter’s league?

There are no written rules that say that a pitcher needs X number of starts at Double-A, followed by X number of starts at Triple-A before they are ready for big league action. A pitcher tells you when they are ready by showing sheer dominance, and that is exactly what Montero has shown.

I still find it funny that Metsblog had Montero labeled as “raw” during spring training. Raw pitchers do not have a 27:1 strikeout to walk ratios. I guess “raw” is a term to use when an analyst has never heard of a guy and has no clue what they are looking at. Montero is not raw, he may be the most polished pitcher in the entire Mets system right now. Going back to his last season, the fireballing righty has struck out 137 batters while walking only 20.

Had Wheeler shown this dominance at any level, then we would be having the same discussion about him. However, Wheeler is a “thrower” at this point, using his overpowering stuff to get hitters out, but he hasn’t mastered the art of pitching yet. When he does master it, watch out.

Montero’s stuff is electric – Wheeler’s stuff is better. That’s a scary thought.