While the Las Vegas 51s have received outstanding performances from many players late in the season, one player‘s performance in particular stands out. Starting pitcher Rafael Montero delivered dominating performances virtually every night down the stretch, and his fabulous run of starts have helped Las Vegas clinch their first playoff appearance since 2002. During the month of August, Montero was 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA and struck out 38 batters while only walking six in 38.2 innings.
Even though his record was only 0-1 this week, he fired 11 strong innings during two excellent starts. In his first start against the Fresno Grizzlies, Montero yielded only two runs and six hits, while striking out five in 5.2 innings pitched. His next start came against the Tucson Padres, and Montero tossed six shutout innings, striking out eight opposing hitters. For the week, Montero owned a 1.54 ERA and allowed only nine hits and two walks over 11.2 innings.
Overall, Montero is 12-7 with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP through 155 innings pitched for Las Vegas and Binghamton. He will look to continue his recent string of dominating starts in the playoffs, and help the 51s compete for the Pacific Coast League championship.
Thoughts from Matt M.:
This was another good pick from Vinny, as Montero has been key to helping Las Vegas reach the postseason. After a rough June and July, the right-hander has truly found his comfort zone, adjusting rather well to life as a pitcher in the PCL and at Cashman Field. We knew there would be an adjustment period for him coming from Binghamton, but it’s great to see him get used to everything as quickly as he did. Having the success he experienced in Double-A, to the struggles he encountered in Triple-A could hurt a pitcher’s confidence, but it didn’t look like he lost anything as he took his lumps and gained valuable experience. This has been great for him moving into 2014, and I do believe he’ll be getting a real long look for a starting rotation spot in the Mets’ rotation by the time Opening Day rolls around. At least, he deserves one, if you ask me.
(photo credit: Gordon Donovan)