With pitching becoming a shortage throughout the New York Yankees’ farm system, Jordan Montgomery is emerging as an arm that can shine in the majors.
No, you probably don’t know his name now, but Jordan Montgomery has already started to turn heads within the New York Yankees‘ system and is a name to keep in mind.
Montgomery, who was drafted in the fourth round of 2014’s MLB First-Year Player Draft, was big-time during his collegiate days at South Carolina as the number one starter as a sophomore and junior and went 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA in five career NCAA tournament starts.
However, since his days of shutting down teams in college and being drafted, he has been highly undervalued when compared to the rest of the pitchers throughout the Yankees’ system.
The 23-year old, who stands at a monstrous 6’6″, is ranked as the 20th prospect in the system and only the eighth-best pitcher in the farm despite his massive improvements since joining professional baseball.
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Within two months of his first full season, Montgomery landed a spot in high-Class A and even started pumping fastballs much harder as his career progressed into Double-A.
According to MLB Pipeline, Montgomery’s fastball was effective at 88-92 MPH in 2015 because it ran away and sunk with impeccable command as well.
Then, in the same year, the velocity jumped to 91-94 with that same dip by August, giving it much needed detachment from his fading changeup. His arsenal also features an effective curveball and cut fastball.
Overall in 2015, between Charlton and Tampa, the lefty went 10-8 with a 2.95 ERA including 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings in the South Atlantic league.
This season, after striking out 97 batters in 19 starts at Double-A Tampa, Montgomery was promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he is proving his worth to an incredible extent.
Through three starts, the kid owns a .098 ERA and has struck out 18 batters for an overall ERA of 2.31 across both levels.
You may be thinking: how good can he be? He ranks lower than the likes of James Kaprielian, Justus Sheffield, Domingo Acevedo and more but what Montgomery has is “MLB readiness,” if you will.
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According to Pipeline, he is the most major league ready out of any pitcher among the top-20 with little to no injury concern (like Kaprielian has).
Jordan, has hurled 120.2 innings in 2016 which is just under his career-high 134.1 innings in 2014, his first pro year so the chances makes it to “the show” at the same time his rediness says it will (2017) seems likely.
It is also very plausible that the Yankees could call him up for a couple September starts with the catastrophic injury to Nathan Eovaldi but at least expect him to contend for the fifth starter’s spot come Spring Training.
When looking next year’s options for starters, the Bombers come up relatively short.
Masahiro Tanaka is the trusty ace but after that, you have CC Sabathia, who’s early-season revival is expired, Michael Pineda who seems as though will never utilize his nastiness to its full potential and Luis Severino who’s future resides as a bullpen pitcher.
When looking at the free agent market, the best options are probably 29-year-old Jeremy Hellickson and 32-year-old Doug Fister but it is highly unlikely that Brian Cashman or Hal Steinbrenner will be enthusiastic about writing hefty paychecks during the youth movement.
Montgomery is by no means the next Randy Johnson, Clayton Kershaw, or anything close to a once-in-a-generation type ace.
What he has shown, however, is that he can manage a spot in the back-end of a major league rotation with authority thanks to his enhances fastball and understanding on how to use his average arsenal.
He will walk a lot (2.8 career BB/9 but he knows how to prevent runners from scoring while being a notorious innings eater (5.2 innings per start).
If anything, New York has a surprisingly dominant arm on the rise to help a broken down staff build for the future. However, don’t undermine him. This young hurler will pitch for a job in the Bronx come this spring and should be ready to prove his worth very shortly.