As if you need to know anything about Gerrit Cole…
Or Masahiro Tanaka or JA Happ…sure there is some question marks about how Luis Severino will bounce back, but Yankee fans know what they can expect from him if he is healthy. With James Paxton injured for at least 3-4 months, there will be ample time to speculate about him later.
But, what about Jordan Montgomery? What can Yankee fans expect out of the 27-year old lefty that FanGraphs currently projects as the Yankees’ fifth starter?
His rookie season in 2017 looked good. After being drafted in the fourth round in 2014, the big lefty accumulated 2.6 fWAR, with an impressively above average K% at 22%. His walk rate was not as clean at 7.9% which is on the border of below average according to that same graph from the link above.
The next season, his BB% jumped to 10.3% while his K% dipped a little. Yes he went 2-0, but he also had 6 total starts so not much can be determined from that small sample size before the injury, and…pitcher wins mean nothing (sorry Domingo German).
He had Tommy John in 2018 so that could be the reason he struggled with walks early that year. He came back late in 2019 and got in to pitch for 4 innings without walking a batter and with a 26.3% K%. Both of these are such small sample sizes that this paragraph is essentially irrelevant, but that could help Monty’s confidence (and Yankee fans confidence) as he slots into the 5th rotation spot this April.
One more boost of confidence is that he added over 1 mph (90.3-91.7) of velocity to his fastball from 2018 to 2019 so that means the surgery went well and he has faith that elbow will hold up. He threw his fastball at 92 mph in 2017 so he is nearly back to form there.
His fastball is his #1 pitch and as a prospect, his heater graded out at 55/55. He has thrown that pitch 42% of the time in his career. He mixes his other three pitches in fairly often with his curveball (26.5%), changeup (19.7%) and slider (11.9%), but he did not throw the slider at all in his 4 innings back in 2019.
The biggest thing to watch is how he comes back with control and keeps the walk rate down and how he competes with JA Happ for the final rotation spot when Paxton (hopefully) returns from injury.
It would be exciting to see Lefty Monty hold onto his rotation spot and kick HR Happ to the bullpen in June.
Featured Image: Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons