Jordan Montgomery
Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

Jordan Montgomery is solidifying his spot in the New York Yankees rotation, according to manager Aaron Boone.

Jordan Montgomery entered spring training not only looking to stay healthy but also pitch well enough to earn time in the New York Yankees rotation. Three weeks later, Montgomery has all but guaranteed his spot as a starter.

The losses of James Paxton to start the season and Luis Severino for the entire campaign make Montgomery an essential asset to the Yankees. The next pitchers in line after him are Michael King, Clarke Schmidt, and Deivi Garcia.

But even if injuries didn’t necessitate Montgomery’s presence, he’s been very impressive in camp, and manager Aaron Boone taking notice.

“This is a guy that’s already had a really strong big league season under his belt,” Boone said after Thursday’s loss to Detroit, per George A King III of the New York Post. “So I’m excited about where he is and feel like he’s very much solidifying himself.”

This is music to Yankee fans’ ears. Montgomery was shockingly successful in 2017. After winning the fifth starter spot over a bullpen-dominating Chad Green, Montgomery made 29 starts. He sported a 3.88 ERA over 155.1 innings.

A positive for him this spring has been his increased fastball velocity. Montgomery averaged 92 mph on that pitch in 2017, per FanGraphs. Just three weeks into spring training, he’s regularly working his fastball up to 94-95 mph.

Now is Montgomery going to blow hitters away? Probably not. He makes his living off forcing ground balls and soft contact. But Montgomery’s increased fastball velocity is still an intriguing sign, especially coming off Tommy John surgery.

Lifetime ballplayer and Yankee fan. Strongly believe that the eye-test and advanced stats can be used together instead of against each other.