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May 13, 2014

The Call-Up

Rafael Montero

by Mark Anderson and Craig Goldstein

The Situation: With the Mets sliding down the National League East standings, Jenrry Mejia moves from the rotation to the bullpen, clearing the way for BP’s no. 4-ranked Mets prospect, Rafael Montero. Montero will make his MLB debut at home against Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.

Background: Signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 20-year old in 2011, Montero has breezed through the minor leagues. In his debut season in 2011 he chopped through four short-season leagues, compiling a combined 2.15 ERA in 71 innings. He followed that up by flying through both A-ball leagues in 2012 with a combined 2.36 ERA in 20 starts (122 innings). Montero didn’t miss a beat in 2013 when he hit the upper levels of the minor leagues, posting a 2.43 ERA and nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings at Double-A and then pitching very well in 16 starts in the high-octane Pacific Coast League. So far this season, Montero has notched a 3.67 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Las Vegas, allowing just 30 hits and 18 walks in 41 2/3 innings while striking out 41 batters.

Scouting Report: Montero doesn’t look the part of a mid-rotation starter, standing just six feet and weighing 170 pounds. He is lean and lacks physical projection but is a quality athlete who repeats his easy delivery well. His arm action is clean, and the ball comes out of his hand with ease.

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6 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Your sarcasm is strange. Many on the BP staff have banged the drum that Mejia can't hold up under a starter's workload and is best suited for the pen. Simultaneously, Montero was the obvious next starter to push to the majors. So isn't this move less a middling team addressing an unimportant need and more about the Mets finding the best roles in both the short and long term for the young assets they have? I know there's a desire to make fun of everything the Mets do, but I don't see where this decision warrants it.

May 13, 2014 08:31 AM
rating: 4
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

It depends on the motivations, I suppose. If the motivation that prompted the decision was addressing the bullpen on a middling team, that's poor decision making. If the motivation was preserving Mejia's arm, then that's a different story and one not presented thus far.

May 13, 2014 09:29 AM

Mejia has been getting crushed in the fifth and sixth innings so far this season. His numbers have been great the first time through the order, slightly worse but still good the second time, and then batters tee off on him the third time. Even in a small sample size, a pitcher who can't get through a batting order three times is going to have a hard time sticking in a starting rotation.

May 13, 2014 11:41 AM
rating: 3

The number clearly backup what you said. He's lights out the first time thru the order and quickly gets worse the 2nd and 3rd time. Also, he's on very limited innings count this year. So sometime in the pen will keep available further into the season.

May 13, 2014 14:23 PM
rating: 0

It certainly seems to be a prime motivator behind the switch, since everyone observing the organization, from the aforementioned BP to the Mets announcing team, has talked about Mejia's fatigue issues and the way his stuff gets massively worse as the game goes along. There's a reason he's the one moving to the pen, after all. The talk that he'd be able to help he bullpen seems to me to simply be accentuating the positions is all. And that they are saying he has late inning potential because, after all, his stuff is fantastic.

Honestly, when you have as many quality starting candidates as the Mets do--ones you certainly are going to be patient with--and there are guys like Mejia who seem like the move to the bullpen is inevitable, or like DeGrom who are so low on the depth chart there will be no chance for them to start at the major league level, isn't using them to fill out and bolster the bullpen the smart move regardless of how good the major league team is? Hell, if Wheeler starts to pitch to his potential and Montero prove a quality mid-rotation guy, while Mejia and DeGrom successfully pitch better than the dross at the back of the pen, don't they seem like they might at that point be a bit better than middling (especially if Wright and Granderson start hiring a bit more like you'd expect them too). I realize my favorite team has a history of half baked decision making, but the moves they've made this week--promoting Flores, Campbell, Montero and DeGrom while moving Mejia to a relief role--all seem like good moves to me.

May 13, 2014 15:10 PM
rating: 1

This and every other BP scouting report on Montero is an exercise in scouting bias. I am pulling for him more than anyone other prospect this year to succeed and there is no reason to think that doesn't have a shot. Maybe people will learn something, but I doubt it. Too old, too small, too thin... in other words he is a bad prospect on paper.

May 14, 2014 10:35 AM
rating: 0
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