Mike Montgomery Scouting Report
I went up to Omaha this past weekend and saw the Stormchasers in action against the Nashville Sounds. Mike Montgomery pitched the Saturday game, and here are some observations on the Kansas City Royals prospect.
Montgomery seems to have smoothed out his delivery from the last time I saw him in the Arizona Fall League. He still has some noticeable stiffness with the way his right leg lands, but he was repeating his delivery fine in this game, at least from the second inning on. Montgomery went seven innings, allowing seven hits and four runs, walking one and fanning six. All four runs were given up in the first inning.
In that inning, Montgomery's fastball was 90-92 MPH, thrown high in the zone with little movement. His slider was flat, and he was telegraphing his curveball; you could tell it was going to be the curve before he released it. He was fooling nobody, his location was off, and he gave up the four runs. However, in the second inning, and for the rest of the game, he looked like a different pitcher. His fastball kicked up to 91-93, with life low in the strike zone. His slider got much sharper, he did a better job selling the curveball, and he mixed in some solid changeups.
A reader points out that Montgomery isn't supposed to throw a slider. Whatever he was trying to throw in the first inning looked like it was supposed to be a slider. Later in the game it looked to me like there were two distinct breaking balls, a traditional curve and something with more bite to it, but the reader is correct that a genuine slider isn't supposed to be in Montgomery's arsenal. A well-placed Royals source confirms that Montgomery isn't throwing a slider. I've gone ahead and left the report of what I saw as-is, but I figured I needed to point this out.
I think the game was a microcosm of Montgomery's entire season to date. He is 5-8, 5.33 in 138 innings for Omaha, with 114 strikeouts, 66 walks, and 139 hits allowed. He's had some outstanding starts and some terrible ones. At age 22 he still has plenty of time to gain consistency. I had him rated a Grade B+ pre-season. I don't know yet if I will drop him down to a Grade B, but it is possible.