Montero and D’Arnaud Make BA Prospect Hot Sheet

rafael montero travis d'arnaud

It was a good week for top prospects Rafael Montero and Travis d’Arnaud; they were both recognized by Baseball America today in their weekly edition of the Prospect Hot Sheet.

Montero has been hot for a while, but his most effective performances since getting promoted from Binghamton have come in his most recent starts. He made two appearances for the Las Vegas 51s this week, going 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA, one earned run, six hits, two walks, and 17 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched.

Here are the comments from Baseball America:

Few Dominican pitchers fly through the minor leagues, but then few have the same background as Montero. The Mets signed him in January 2011 when he was 20—an age that makes him practically ancient in the world of international scouting—but he’s skyrocketed from the Dominican Summer League to Triple-A in just two seasons thanks to his impressive command of a solid arsenal.

Little has fazed Montero on that journey, including the hitter-friendly conditions of Las Vegas. The only run Montero gave up this week came on a George Springer home run—he certainly has plenty of company there—but otherwise he overmatched hitters during his two home starts in Las Vegas.

Montero sits in the low 90s and can get up to the mid-90s when he needs it, but it’s the late life and the command of his fastball that makes him so effective. He lacks a wipeout offering among his secondary pitches, so scouts aren’t projecting Montero as a frontline starter, but the stuff and command are there to profile as a steady mid-rotation arm.

It wasn’t an easy transition for Montero to get adjusted to the hitter-friendly environment that is the Pacific Coast League, and specifically, Cashman Field in Las Vegas. Through 72 innings pitched in Triple-A, the right-hander is now 5-3 with a 3.25 ERA. What I’ve enjoyed most about his recent streak of quality starts is the decrease in walks. We know he has impeccable control, but Rafael was struggling when he first got promoted (19 BBs in 50 IP). In his last 22 innings pitched, it’s been the Montero we’ve gotten used to seeing, walking just two hitters.

Meanwhile, Travis d’Arnaud knows his MLB debut can come any day now as he waits for John Buck to go on paternity leave, and he’s done a great job waiting in Las Vegas. He’s played seven games since returning to Triple-A after completing his rehab assignment from a fractured foot, and is hitting .400 with one home run, three doubles, and nine walks. That performance earned him an honorable mention by the BA staff.

D’Arnaud has all the makings of a solid MLB catcher once he makes landfall in Flushing, but his future will likely depend on his ability to stay healthy. Needless to say, Mets fans are very excited to see what he can do in the big leagues before the season is through.

Congratulations to both Montero and d’Arnaud on fantastic weeks!

(photo credit: Gordon Donovan)