Mets Prospects On The Rise: Rafael Montero Promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas

By Matt Musico

June 14, 2013 1 Comment

rafael montero gd

Well, that was fast. A day after his old teammate, Jack Leathersich, took a flight out west to join Triple-A Las Vegas, Rafael Montero will be following him there.

Montero made a spot start against the Iowa Cubs on May 21st for the 51s, and performed well despite getting the loss. He allowed two runs in 6.2 innings of work, giving up four hits and one walk with five strikeouts.

If you had a chance to take a look at today’s MMN Top-10 Tracker, you’d know Montero has been white hot in Binghamton since getting transferred back to Double-A. In 11 starts with the B-Mets, the right-handed pitching prospect owns a 7-3 record with a 2.43 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 72 strikeouts against only 10 walks in 66.2 innings pitched.

Zack Wheeler made his final start with the 51s last night, and will be activated to pitch on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves. The organization said Wheeler’s eventual promotion wouldn’t be tied to Montero’s, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Either way, it was clear he’s ready to be challenged at the next level, and is projected to start on Sunday.

Congratulations to Rafael on getting promoted! This could be a nice set-up to see both him and Leathersich in Flushing come September.

Thoughts From Satish R.

There’s still a part of me that wanted him to skip Vegas, in the same way that I’d like Kevin Plawecki to skip Advanced-A. However, it seems this front office is dedicated to taking everything one step at a time, which is probably a smarter move in the long run. I’m slightly worried about how Montero will fare in the PCL considering everything that works against a pitcher there. That being said, if he comes out of there alive and kicking, he should be even more confident. I anticipate him making his MLB debut by the end of this year.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Because Montero will pound the zone and exhibit such great command as he has throughout his pro career, his ability to pinpoint the location of his pitches should play very well at Vegas.

Last week, I asked Lynn Worthy, who covers the Binghamton Mets for the Press & Sun Bulletin, who has impressed him the most this season, and he had this to say about Montero:

The most impressive so far would have to be Rafael Montero because of the command he’s displayed. Cesar Puello’s recent play has made it a close call, but Montero has performed so well all season. While his stuff isn’t at the level of Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler, he has consistently demonstrated remarkable control beyond what I saw from either Harvey or Wheeler at this level.

It’s a very interesting question to consider how well Montero’s actual stuff translates to a major-league level. I’m not sure. I would tend to think his margin for error will be even smaller against those hitters. There could be a real possibility of him getting hit hard at times. This certainly isn’t an exact comparison, but Collin McHugh had tremendous success and command of multiple pitches in Binghamton and also pitched well at Triple-A. His first start in the big leagues was also stellar, but he has also been hit hard at times.

Montero’s command will be a big plus, and I do think he’s shown a strong ability to work through a lineup a second or third time and keep hitters off-balance. On several occasions he has racked up the majority of his strikeouts after the first time through the lineup. It will be interesting how he gets used if/when he does reach the big league level.

Montero has been overshadowed by Zack Wheeler ever since the Mets acquired him. The young righthander has done nothing, but excel at each level where he was always among the most dominating pitchers in his league.

Earlier this week, the Mets promoted his teammate Jack Leathersich to Triple-A.

It’s obvious now that the front office is feeling the pressure to start advancing their best prospects after operating at a snail’s pace the last three seasons. I don’t like rushing prospects, but when they are pushing the envelope, a front office should recognize it and act on it. Look for Kevin Plawecki,Jayce BoydNoah Syndergaard and others to get the bump in the coming days.

  • http://ifiredstevephillips.blogspot.com Hank

    Congrats Montero. It’s amazing that the organization has at least one LEGIT SP prospect at each level. It’s going to be fun to see these guys work their way up to Queens/ Congrats to Rafael, he’s definitely earned the promotion.