MMN Pitcher of the Week: Rafael Montero

By Brian Devine

August 20, 2013 No comments

rafael montero 2 gdEver since Rafael Montero signed with the Mets in 2011 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic, he has rocketed up the Mets system. In 2011, he dominated rookie ball, going 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA. The following season, he was 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA and 0.94 WHIP for Savannah and St. Lucie. For the Mets in 2013, Montero’s success continued as he owns a 12-6 record with a 2.86 ERA, 134 strikeouts and a 1.08 WHIP in 138 innings pitched between AA and AAA. In his last few starts for Las Vegas, Montero has been fantastic and he had another brilliant outing on Thursday.

Rafael Montero fired seven shutout innings in Las Vegas’ 3-2 over the New Orleans Zephyrs. The Zephyrs didn’t have many opportunities to score against Montero since he held them to only 4 hits and walked none. The win was Montero’s 12th of the season, and this was his third consecutive start where he pitched at least 7 innings and yielded one run or less.

Even though he doesn’t have the immense upside that Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard has, Montero’s poise and excellent control make him an exciting prospect in the Mets system.

Thoughts from Matt M.

This was as great pick from Vinny, and well deserved for Montero. It’s taken him a little while to get adjusted to life in the PCL, but now we’re starting to see the kind of pitcher that dominated hitters in the Eastern League for half the season. I’ve been so impressed in his poise and the control of his pitches at such a young age. Like Vinny said, he doesn’t possess the same velocity on his fastball like Wheeler or Syndergaard, but it’s not always about velocity all the time.

have a 93 or 94 mph fastball and being able to put it anywhere you want in the strike zone is just as hard for an opposing batter to hit than pumping a 98 or 99 mph fastball that goes over the heart of the plate. That’s not saying Wheeler or Syndergaard can’t put their fastball where they want it, but Montero has made this reputation for himself to pound the strike zone start after start. After his rough start with Las Vegas, it’s nice to see him put together the type of outings we’re used to seeing from him.

(photo credit: Gordon Donovan)