Bryce Montes de Oca
Height/Weight: 6’7″, 265 LBS
Date of Birth: 4/23/1996
Montes de Oca remains one of the biggest enigmas in the Draft, perhaps the biggest. He had Tommy John surgery as a Missouri high school junior in 2013 and ulnar nerve transposition three years later, and he turned down the White Sox as a 14th-rounder in 2014 and the Nationals as a 15th-rounder last summer. While all that is off-putting to a lot of teams, when he’s on he might have the most devastating pair of pitches available in this year’s crop.
Montes de Oca can work at 93-98 mph and reach 100 with exceptionally heavy sink on his fastball, which can get top-of-the-scale grades for both its velocity and its life. His breaking ball has gone from a power slurve to more of a true slider that climbs into the upper 80s and is a wipeout offering at its best. Both pitches were overpowering when he worked the first seven innings of a no-hitter against Maryland-Baltimore County in March, when he struck out 12 of the 23 batters he faced and permitted just two balls to be hit in the air.
After continuing to excel in the rotation over the next month, Montes de Oca pitched just 11 innings over the final seven weeks of the regular season without any explanation as to why his role changed. His lack of a reliable changeup and his inability to throw consistent strikes point to a future in the bullpen. With his stuff, he could move rapidly as a reliever and have closer upside if he stays healthy.
Montes de Oca had to wait quite a while to get going at Missouri. After barely pitching as a freshman, he redshirted the following year to have ulnar nerve transposition surgery, which could be considered a follow-up to the Tommy John surgery he had in high school. Since then, Montes de Oca has proved that his massive fastball is back, and he’s done a good job of improving his control. He was drafted by the Nationals in the 15th round last year, which was one round later than when the White Sox took him in the 14th round out of high school in 2014. Instead of signing with the Nationals, Montes de Oca opted to return to Missouri and began his redshirt junior season by striking out 12, throwing the first seven innings of a no-hitter against Maryland Baltimore County. He also held Auburn to one hit in six scoreless innings, but after being scratched from a start against Florida because of a stiff neck, he bounced back-and-forth between the Tigers’ bullpen and weekend rotation. Montes de Oca’s lengthy medical history turns off some teams and the massive, 6-foot-7, 245-pound righthander doesn’t always maintain his delivery, which explains his five walks per nine innings. Even with those control issues, he’s 6-4, 3.21 and has held opposing hitters to a .174 average this season while striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings. As a starter, he sits 94-97 mph and touches 98-99 pretty much every time out. He’s ticked 100 mph at times. In addition to his plus-plus fastball, his slurvy, 85-86 mph slider is a plus pitch thanks to its power, even if its shape is less than ideal. Montes de Oca’s control troubles may lead to an eventual move to the bullpen if a pro team isn’t extremely patient, but as a reliever, he could be a fast mover thanks to two plus pitches.
The Mizzou Tigers released this article last year about Montes de Oca’s work ethic and raw talent.
I think Mets 9th rounder Bryce Montes de Oca will be better than 90 percent of the players taken in the 6th-8th rounds. Put him in the pen, let him throw 100+ and enjoy the success. Yes, he has had a lengthy history of injuries, but very good when healthy.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 5, 2018
Jim Callis on #Mets 9th-rd Bryce Montes de Oca: “I love this pick. If he stays healthy I think he can be in the big leagues in 18-24 months.”
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) June 5, 2018
I was surprised they got someone with his talent this late in the day. He has electric stuff and will move very quickly through the organization if he goes to the bullpen. He is in the upper-90s and into the triple digits currently. He misses bats and can be wild but can be really fun to watch. I really like this pick if you could not already tell.
Height/Weight: 5’10”, 165 LBS
Date of Birth: 7/4/1996
Jim Callis believes he has the arms and range to stick at shortstop going forward and can hit for some power down the line. His slugging jumped more than .200 points between the last two seasons at the University of Cincinnati.
SB Nation wrote about his sudden rise in power over this past season. The Mets would hope that it keeps up.
Manny Rodriguez is a 2014 SS/RHP with a 5-10 170 lb. frame from Baltimore, MD who attends Calvert Hall College HS. Slender athletic build, some wiry present strength. 7.05 runner, quick feet and good range in the infield, strong throwing arm, clean balanced actions working through the ball, has body control, tools to stay at shortstop. Right handed hitter, leg lift trigger, high hand start, has bat speed, quick hands to the ball, loose out front, has some gap to gap power, would benefit from being more aggressive attacking fastballs. Also pitched, tall well paced delivery, bit cross bodied on release, arm works well, 3/4’s release. Fastball topped out at 86 mph, good downhill plane, tight spin on a low 70’s curveball, sweeping 10/4 shape, threw strikes. Nice all around player with tools.