Rafael Montero Is The Pitching Prospect You Keep, Not The One You Trade


Thoughts from Joe D.

After Satish posted an update on Rafael’s Montero’s brilliant performance last night, I received a few questions about him via email and Twitter.

In Montero’s last six starts for Las Vegas, consider these numbers…

In 39.0 innings pitched, he has allowed just 28 hits and 11 walks for a 0.99 WHIP and he has held batters to a .199 batting average. Numbers like this are unheard of in the PCL and in that span no other pitcher in the league has been better than Montero.

Overall, Montero is 5-3 with a 3.25 ERA in 13 starts since being promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. He is a combined 12-6 with a 2.86 ERA with 31 walks and 134 strikeouts in 138. innings pitched between Double-A Binghamton and Las Vegas in 2013. Montero was one of two Mets pitchers who were selected for the Futures Game this season.

Even before Montero embarked on this remarkable run in Las Vegas, where he has dominated much as I said he would because of his plus-plus control and his command of the strike zone. Those are two things that relate to success more than velocity or stuff, and Montero is considered among the elite prospects when it comes to command and control. And that’s not to say he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, believe me he does. Put all those things together and you have a lethal combination.

For some odd reason, when the conversation shifts to trading an arm, Montero seems to be the one most everyone wants to move despite being the organizational top pitcher (Sterling Award) twice in the last three years. In my opinion, Montero is the one you keep and one coach who has seen both of them, first as an opposing hitter and now as a coach, said he compares Montero to Greg Maddux. That’s quite the comp.

Unfortunately, for those of you who were hoping to get a glimpse of Montero at some point this season or even in September, forget it. Sandy Alderson told us that he is close to being shutdown for the season due to his innings workload, remember he is only 22.

I suspect this exciting righthander will have no more than 30-40 innings left before being shutdown for the season. Additionally, Montero is getting to experience an intense playoff push for Las Vegas who are currently tied for first place with Sacramento. It was Montero’s effort last night that vaulted the 51s into a dead heat for the top spot in the division and he received a hero’s welcome in the dugout by his teammates when his work was done. Montero hates to lose.

As one of his teammates told me a couple of weeks ago, “he is filthy when he is on the mound”.

The other thing Alderson mentioned to us was that Montero does not have to be placed on the 40-man roster until 2015 so there is no immediate need to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. However, there are pitchers like Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz who the Mets will need to make room for this offseason on the 40-man to keep from losing them.

I wouldn’t be in such a hurry to trade the Dominican native, because in his three seasons with the Mets, NOBODY in the organization both in the minors AND majors, has pitched as effectively and as dominating as Rafael Montero has. Nobody.

Montero should be the pitcher you keep, not the one you trade.

Original Post 1:00 AM

In his fifth straight quality start, Rafael Montero cruised through seven innings today for Triple-A Las Vegas and allowed zero runs. In fact, he has progressively pitched more effectively in each of his consecutive quality starts — starting with six innings and three runs allowed and culminating today with seven scoreless. He walked none, allowed just four singles, and struck out eight in a brilliant performance.

Rafael Montero has found himself again. After dominating Binghamton, I thought he was ready for the direct jump to The Show. The Mets aren’t about that style, however, and decided to promote him to Triple-A Las Vegas — which notoriously hates pitchers.

And despite some getting used to, Montero has found a way to return to his old form even in a hitter’s league, and has been able to keep the ball in the ballpark AND simultaneously keep his walks to an extremely low number.

At this point, I fully expect Montero to finish the year in Triple-A and compete for a roster spot next year… I think he should break with the team as part of the rotation. Your thoughts?

Regardless, absolutely awesome job by Montero today in yet another strong start. Keep it up!