Rafael Montero has a lot of work to do

Last night at Citi Field, the Nationals hit three home runs off Mets pitching prospect Rafael Montero, raising his ERA to 6.12 through 25 innings with the Mets this season.

It was Montero’s first start since being demoted back to Triple-A early this summer. He let up five home runs in his four starts with the Mets earlier this season.


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“I know he’s not afraid to throw it over the plate, but you’ve got to make your pitches,” Terry Collins said after the game. “You see he’s got weapons to be successful, but he’s got to learn to use them better. When you’re throwing it in the middle of the plate, you’re going to get hit.”

Montero is filling in for Jacob deGrom, who was recently put on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder tendonitis. Montero will remain in the rotation for at least one more start, according to Collins.

“The batters here are a little better,” Montero said through an interpreter (ESPN, Aug. 13).

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

I got ripped by my readers in Spring Training for expressing concern about Montero’s height, but I still see it as a problem for a right-handed pitcher with his repertoire. I mean, I can’t think of any righties his size who pitched in the zone like he does who had sustained success in the big leagues. This level of hitters just tee off on a slider coming in on that trajectory, and his fastball — while in the mid-90s — isn’t deceptive enough to make it work in his favor. Also, he still looks like he’s aiming the ball and almost never throws inside. He needs to own the plate and find a way to get up on top of these pitches of he’s going to continue to get crushed. It wasn’t pretty.

His next start is huge; not just for him, but for the Mets, who may want to offer him in trade for a bat this winter. Right now, he still looks like a relief pitcher making spot starts. I want to be wrong. He’s a smart kid, he’s shown command and presence of mind to adjust during Spring Training starts and in Triple-A, so the skills are there. He’s worth more to the Mets and on the market as a starting pitcher, but I just don’t see the command right now of his secondary pitches needed to work over a lineup. He and Dan Warthen have a lot of work to do over the next four days…




84 comments
dabo
dabo

News flash not all prospects are Trout, Harvey or Fernandez.  Time has to be given for these players to preform and figure out how to pitch in the big leagues.  This is why I am always in favor of trading top prospects for proven MLB talent.

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

Matt-

I generally like reading your stuff but Montero's height has nothing to do with anything. Pedro was a small guy and he did ok. You pitch behind and you're going to get hurt. Montero's stuff is PLENTY good enough. Not many pitchers can pitch behind in the count all the time though. You can't tell me that Dillon Gee can pitch in this league but Montero can't. That's no knock on Gee, he's a smart gutsy pitcher but as far as stuff goes I think Montero has him beat. 


You more than anyone shouldn't overreact. It's a FEW starts. Let the guy try to settle down. I saw his first start in Vegas too and it was kind of similar. He looked like he was pitching well but then he made a mistake here or there and next thing you know he gave up 5 runs. Let him have 10-15 starts before we decide he's too small to play in the league. 

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

The guy has pitched like absolute poop in 25 innings at the Major League level.  In 428 innings of minor league ball he pitched to a 2.63 ERA.


I'm not saying he'll be fine.  I'm not saying he's going to suck.  I'm not saying anything.  Why?  Because it's been 25 friggin innings.  This is undoubtedly the most frustrating and annoying part of the whole "the Mets have tons of young pitching" phase.  Some guys adjust in an instant when promoted to a higher level, some don't.  Some guys never figure it out, some do.  Some guys are good at hiding nerves when promoted, some aren't.


But you're really going to make me sit here and read your stupid theories on height and command and how his pitches don't break and blah blah blah.  Relax Cerrone and maybe act like you have some sort of baseball-savviness.  I figure you - a guy "plugged in to all things NY Mets" - would at least have enough common sense to withhold such judgement until the guy throws more than 25 friggin Major League innings - and with an injury mixed in the middle of those innings to boot!


Today, Cerrone, you didn't do your job.  Figure it out bro.

rico
rico

Montero was voted as having the best Change Up in AAA ball by Baseball America 

we didn't see much of the Change Up last night.  

Dave D'Agnese
Dave D'Agnese

I think the people comparing montero to Pedro or Maddux is asking a bit much. The kid doesn't need to try and compare his stats to them. Let him develop without the lofty comparisons. Mentality is everything for these young pitchers.

JasonMiles
JasonMiles

He doesn't have that take no prisoners look of deGromm. You really need a certain character makeup to make it here-I don't know if he has that

1harris1
1harris1

Montero was pitching pretty well last night until the 6th inning.  Have to give him an extended look before one can make a fair judgment on him.


The height thing is nonsense imo.  How tall were guys like Pedro, Cone or Maddux?  Montero's issue has seemingly been throwing too many pitches during the first few innings of these games; hence he looks out of gas by the 6th inning.  He has to economize his pitch count better.  That's been a problem for Wheeler also, as well as at times with deGrom. 

Brian Webster
Brian Webster

I don't see Cerrone how you can be taking bows as if you've been somehow proven right. You were ripped for saying Montero was clearly a RP because of his height. And thus far this hasn't been a Mejia situation where he's been spectacular for the 1st 3 or 4 innings and then things fall apart suggesting perhaps he'd be better in the BP. Montero has just been bad and it hasn't mattered much whether it was early, middle or late. So there's no reason to believe he'd be much better in the pen. If you had said Montero was just a AAAA then you'd be able to crow right now that you're looking correct. But you didn't say he should be a RP because he isn't that good so you want him pitching less. You said he should be a RP because of his height which is silly. It doesn't really matter too much if he's giving up HRs in the 2nd inning or the 4th inning or the 7th inning.

hashburry
hashburry

What does throwing inside have to do with his height?  Is he shorter than Leake?  Cueto?  Lincecum?  Hudson? Peavy? Please already.  Maybe  a guy like Fister is more effective because he is 6'8", but there is no reason to believe a guy with a live arm can't pitch at Montero's stature.  He needs to refine his breaking pitches.  he absolutely looks scared.  TC, as usual, was contradicting himself all over the place saying he throws too many strikes, nibbles too much, may be tipping his slider....Should just ask Viola, since he seems to be the only one with any real insight.

truth77
truth77

He does not hit spots ,He has not shown variations in speed and has no curve ball.Ask bobby Parnell how throwing 100 with no movement works .Major league hitters need variations of speed and pitches thrown at different angles.He is light years behind Degrom.Put him back in double AA ball and send him some where that he can work on throwing a curve ball Vegas is not the place to learn how to throw a curve ball.

jamesny
jamesny

The only benefit that I believe height offers is the distance where the ball is released relative to the plate. Height often equates to a relatively longer stride. In addition, longer arms and a longer torso result in the ball being released closer to the plate; therefore the ball gets on the hitter faster. Obviously, this is assuming a pitcher 6'1" and a pitcher 6'5" throw the same velocity. 93 mph from the 6'5" pitcher may appear a little faster to the batter than 93 mph from the 6'1" pitcher. Chris Young is a perfect example of somone who throws roughly 87 mph but his velocity appears to be increased because he releases the ball so close to the plate. 

yiyiriba
yiyiriba

@RRamirezR Buenas Tardes,el Sr .Renzo Bersanini requiere comunicarse con usted en forma directa y con algo de urgencia.Gracias

Alf Amundsen
Alf Amundsen

How come Noah didn't get called up did he pitch recently ?

Vincent Santiago
Vincent Santiago

His stuff is good his pitches just get WAY too much plate. His height has NOTHING to do with it, his height deals with his ability to throw 95 for a long time and have a long career sans injury.  

Jaime Gongora
Jaime Gongora

The kid needs time.  It's really that simple.  We have been very spoiled that Harvey and Degrom have progressed so quickly.  Look at Maddox, Glavine, Kershaws, etc, etc, etc, ETC, ETC, ETC (notice a theme) first years.  Like someone starting a new job, you need time to adjust.  After a year to a year and half of consistent play then it's worth discussion.  

spelletrader
spelletrader

Pitcher height vs effectiveness is so "urban legend" that Snopes should have a section for it.

http://sabr.org/research/does-pitcher-s-height-matter

Montero needs to stop throwing those meatballs down the middle of the plate. Two of the three homers yesterday looked like they were hit off a tee, the other was more inside but easily turned on and right at wheelhouse height. This team can barely afford one mistake pitch like that, three is pretty much impossible to overcome.

Jayson Love
Jayson Love

I knew he was gonna get shelled last night.  WHat Ive seen from Montero is that he hasnt taken what hes done in the minors to the major league level which happens with a lot of young players.  They think that when they get to the Majors they need to "do something different", its the old adage, do what got you there, He pitches differently in MLB, he nibbes he tries to strike everyone out.  Didnt do that in the minors

flmetsfan
flmetsfan

Here is where I think that Bobby Ojeda had great insight last night.  Montero shouldn't have been pitching at the corners, he wasn't getting those calls.  He got behind in a lot of counts, and when he tried to pitch a strike, it was like batting practice.

Sorry guys, but this guy has yet to impress me at all.  These days there are plenty of guys who can throw mid nineties and have a slider.  The Mets are using one right now as a setup man, and they thought that he might have been a starter at one time also.

SomeHighSchoolKid
SomeHighSchoolKid

Just went to an article on bleacher report- "Best Pitchers under 6 ft tall"


Fernando Valenzuela. Billy Wagner. Tim Lincecum. Whitey Ford. Pedro Martinez.


Rafael Montero is even bigger than Greg Maddux.


Stop acting like you know what you're talking about Cerrone. 

hankypanky
hankypanky

So much for Montero being part of a package in the immediate future.

Michael Jacoutot
Michael Jacoutot

Cerrone, you were the same guy that repeatedly stated, "i'm worried about wheeler" or something of the like.  Post your links from those days.  Now Wheeler is near "off limits."  Give Montero some time. Sheesh!

Peter Zeng
Peter Zeng

Billy Wagner,  5' 10", Come on, give him couple start. Sound like Debby Downer

Aaron Golub
Aaron Golub

Tulo would be the biggest bust!!! He is owed a fortune for 6 more years, is always hurt, and most of his offense is juiced at Coors Field! Check the home road splits! Of course some of our young pitchers won't pan out, but that's also why the surplus is so important! And blowing your load on Tulo is not the answer! Whoever aquires Tulo is immediately saddled with the worst burden in MLB

MetsFan1962
MetsFan1962

Montero did not show much improvement in his pitching style. He will always be vulnerable to giving up the long ball. He is not a starter more suited for the bull pen.

SomeHighSchoolKid
SomeHighSchoolKid

Greg Maddux- 6'0 170 lbs

Pedro Martinez- 5'11 170 lbs


Would you shut up about his size and start talking about how he needs to command his pitches better?

Nell Dar
Nell Dar

Height has nothing to do with it. Righties that small typically don't have ML fastaballs so they go undrafted. Once in a while you find a guy that small with a major league fastball and does go on to pitch in professional ball. Sonny Gray is a good indicator of a short successful starter. 

Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams

Montero ,syndegard and two other prospects for tulo, would have been great, but wait theses two are a bust, the mets hold on to players way to much and most are total busts

golsf
golsf

Pedro Martinez was 5'11" and finished his career 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA.


I see Montero in a setup role in the bullpen.

Nicholas Vargas
Nicholas Vargas

Colon has to go up to him and talk over a few pointers

JoeBourgeois
JoeBourgeois

The second thing I've seen in the past couple of days that says Montero's trade bait, and that's what this audition is really for (besides the obvious save a couple bucks by not starting the clock on Thor).

dtc942
dtc942

@Dave D'Agnese  You completely missed the point.  Nobody is comparing Montero to either of those guys.  The point was that you don't have to be particularly tall to be an effective, or even exceptional, major league pitcher.  The references to Maddux and Pedro were to illustrate that Montero's height is not his problem because both of those guys were incredible pitchers despite being roughly Montero's size. 

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@JasonMiles - you don't know if he has it after a FEW games? 


If he threw the same exact pitches and the Nationals just missed the mistakes EVERYONE would be saying how dominant he was. He's made some mistakes and they got hit hard. He's been pitching behind in the count, he's had a ton of 3-2 counts... You can't survive pitching like that but maybe let the guy try to pitch through it. Obviously you can't have him going out there giving up 3 home runs in 5 innings every time out but let the guy try to settle in. 


The word on him in the minors was that he had great demeanor on the mound.  

jamesny
jamesny

@1harris1 Lincecum, Colon, Johnny Cueto, Henerson Alvarez, Sonny Gray, Mike Leake.. All under 6 feet

gts41
gts41

@truth77 Now you're a pitching coach from your couch. AA?? he's a young pitcher learning how to pitch on the major league level. have a little patience. Wheeler Mejia deGrom Famila all started slow and all have improved. 

thecasuaLGM
thecasuaLGM

Taller pitchers have more downward movemovement on their pitches while shorter pitchers like montero throw the ball on a more level plain and are easier to hit

hashburry
hashburry

@Jayson Love What works in the minors doesn't always translate.  And have you seen a lot of what he has done in the minors?  You are speaking from speculation.

sell
sell

@SomeHighSchoolKid 

"I can’t think of any righties his size who pitched in the zone like he does who had sustained success in the big leagues"


How could he not think of Pedro or Maddux?  Not saying Montero is the next Pedro, but they're built the same.

mesmo
mesmo

C'mon, Hanky... You're better than that. I'm certain a lot of teams would still be interested in a very young pitcher with a history of success in the minors. Lots of young pitchers get beatings from lineups as potent as the Nats.

flmetsfan
flmetsfan

@Peter Zeng Wagner never started a game in his career.  Perhaps we should move Montero to the bullpen with the other failed "can't miss" starting pitching prospects, Familia and Mejia.

Paul Attanasio
Paul Attanasio

@xjimmybxx height means nothing?  do you watch baseball?  it's not so much about trajectory but the advantages bigger guys have in terms of mechanics and stamina.  it's the reason Pedro Martinez was such an anomaly. 

jamesny
jamesny

@thecasuaLGM I think that has more to do with the arm slot you throw from rather than height. 

Jayson Love
Jayson Love

@hashburry @Jayson Love It isnt speculation.  Ive watched him pitch in the minors several times.  WHat pitchers do in the minors successfully generally transfers in the majors.  He is much more aggressive in the minors, pitches to more contact earlier in the count with heavy ball movement and throws a ton of strikes.  He didnt do that at all last night, he nibbled, he aimed the ball, he ended up in hitters' counts all night.

flmetsfan
flmetsfan

@sell @SomeHighSchoolKid And that's the point: Montero is not the next Pedro or Maddux.  He probably won't be even close.  Heck, I shouldn't have even mentioned him in the sentence as those guys.

Peter Zeng
Peter Zeng

@flmetsfan @Peter Zeng 

Starters 

Whitey ford,  5' 10",

16 Yrs,  236W 106L, 2.75 ERA

Tim Lincecum, 5' 11

Pedro Martinez, 5' 11

Bobby Shantz, 5' 6, former Yankee, 119-99

Dolf Lugue, 5"7 194-179



Nell Dar
Nell Dar

@jimmybxx @Paul Attanasio I'd say history has shown that larger people can handle the workload of a major league season a lot better. but Larger does typically mean you throw harder, thats why small pitchers aren't the norm.

jamesny
jamesny

@jimmybxx height often equals a larger stride which means the ball is released closer to the plate. As a result, the ball gets on the hitter faster.. There definitely is something to be said for height as a pitcher. Some short pitchers (Lincecum) have enormous strides which allow them to release the ball the same distance as someone who has a couple inches on them