Mets Beat: Rafael Montero is “***king Smooth”

rafael montero jeff roberson AP

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York writes:

While watching right-hander Rafael Montero throwing live batting practice Tuesday, Dan Warthen uttered two words to the bullpen catcher standing next to him. “[Expletive] smooth!” the pitching coach excitedly said.

Warthen repeatedly has said this spring training that the 23-year-old Montero possesses as close to a perfect delivery as any in the game.

Mets staffers rave about Montero’s control. He walked only 35 batters while striking out 150 in 155 1/3 innings last season. He had a 2.87 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and surrendered only two homers in nine home starts at Las Vegas’ Cashman Field, which is known as one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in Triple-A.

Tim Rohan of the NY Times writes:

Frank Viola, who coached Montero at Class A Savannah, added: “It’s just effortless. You’d like to showcase it to every young kid. It shows you don’t have to fool anybody with your delivery. It’s nice, plain and simple. Get on top of the ball and finish it off. And for him, he has that little giddy up on it, so it comes at you so fast. It’s just so pure.”

Montero just has a nice, loose arm, Warthen said, which, combined with his good balance, makes for an easy, repeatable motion. As a result, his command is excellent and his walk totals are low. “If you wanted to teach mechanics, he would have it,” Warthen said.

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Rafael Montero will start the Mets first Grapefruit League game on Thursday and will be opposing Taylor Jordan of the Washington Nationals according to new manager Matt Williams.

Former Mets GM Joe McIlvaine and now a scout for the Seattle Mariners, was in Mets camp yesterday, leading to speculation that he was scouting Montero’s bullpen and also to check out other players on behalf of the M’s who have placed Nick Franklin on the trading block. 

There are two Mets prospects who I fear will not be with the organization come 2015 and will go on to become become perennial All Stars for other teams. One is Montero, the other is Wilmer Flores.

Photo by Jeff Roberson, AP

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