Rafael Montero Is Surging


Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; World pitcher Rafael Montero throws a pitch during the first inning of the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Rafael Montero is surging. Looking at Montero’s season statistics at AAA Las Vegas can be a bit deceiving. In 13 starts, he has a solid 5 wins and a good 3.25 era and his WHIP is over 1.2. These are not numbers that Mets’ fans are looking for in their top pitching prospect. Now if you look what he has done in August alone, a time where you would expect a pitcher who has already thrown 138 innings to be slowing down, you begin to understand why the organization is so excited about him. In his three starts this month, Montero has a 0.82 ERA and 21 strikeouts. He has averaged a little over 7 innings a start and still has only given up two walks in 22 innings!

The young phenom has been able to dominate recent competition with his expert command and control. This is evidenced by his 134 strikeouts and only 31 walks this season in AA Binghamton and Las Vegas. Even better, Montero is only 22 years old. Mets’ General Manager Sandy Alderson has said that the Mets are close to shutting him down, so do not expect to see Rafael in any big league games this year. Next year is a much more likely scenario to see him in Flushing. Whether or not he will compete for a rotation spot in Port St. Lucie in spring training, or perhaps be called up later in the 2014 season, remains to be seen.

Montero is also the subject of constant speculation on New York sports radio and Mets’ fan blogs as a piece of valuable trade bait. While it is enticing to think about trading the promising prospect for the power hitter that the Mets desperately need, the possibility of a 1-2-3 punch of Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler and Montero is exhilarating. Along with their obvious talent, it is a trio that could stay intact for years to come because of the players’ respective ages, 24, 23, and 22. With the way Harvey and Wheeler have pitched in the Majors, and the promise Montero has shown of late, the Mets’ decision over five years ago to build a pitcher’s park might finally be paying off.

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