Mets Minors: Rafael Montero impressive in Vegas

Rafael MonteroThe Mets have quite the collection of starting pitchers.  There is not much that anyone could complain about in the Las Vegas starting rotation, but it seems that Rafael Montero deserves additional praise.  Through his first three starts, he’s been the picture of an “Ace”.

What Makes an “Ace”?

A Low ERA – Montero’s ERA is 2.60 after 17.1 IP

A Low WHIP – Montero’s WHIP is a crisp 0.87

A High K/9 – Montero’s K/9 is over 9.0

Could Montero be an “Ace”?

The question isn’t, “Has Rafael Montero been an Ace for Las Vegas this season?” it is, “Can he be an Ace for the Mets as we move into the future?”

If you asked me before Spring Training began, I’d have told you no.  In part, it’s because I’m a callous blogger and I can’t imagine the Mets with quite the embarrassment of riches that would imply.  To have Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Montero would be a historically improbable coup.


The sample size is dangerously small, but the trend is very hopeful.  If you look at Montero’s minor league trends he’s on course for his small sample of results to ring true.  This is particularly hopeful because it would mean that Montero’s numbers would be in line to make him a #2 pitcher, or even an Ace.


Chris Young looks good in rehab – He was 5 for 5 with a pair of home runs in his only rehab start.  That’s fairly silly.

AAA hitters showing patience – Bobby Abreu, Eric Campbell, Zach Lutz and Allan Dykstra are all off to quality starts, but they and others are really making pitchers work and getting on base.

Daisuke Matsuzaka deserves a promotion – If and when a pitcher is needed people will scream for Montero but Matsuzaka Has been very good in his two starts.

Jacob deGrom off to a great start – His numbers are as good or better than Montero’s but his sample size is smaller.  Keep reading and hopefully we can give him a full write-up next week.

Wilmer Flores and Matt den Dekker are off to slow starts – Don’t lose faith, these guys have simply not caught fire to start the year.


Darrell Ceciliani makes us wonder once more – There was a brief time where Ceciliani set the world afire with a season in Brooklyn back in 2010.  He’s off to a great start in 2014, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up too soon.  Let’s hope he continues to swing a good bat.

Journeyman Matt Clark is hitting a ton – He’s not a prospect but he’s certainly earning his keep for the Binghamton squad.

Rainy Lara, Darin Gorski and Hansel Robles pitching strong – Robles has the best numbers but the trio is off to a fine start.

AA Bullpen looking healthy – One of the few cases where a Met bullpen looks like a strength.

Jack Leathersich is getting his act together – His strikeouts are still super high, and he’s working hard to counter April 6th start.


Brandon Nimmo starting strong – All systems are go but he’s striking out over once a game.  He’s walking a lot, which counteracts this, but it’s worth showing caution.

Steven Matz, Gabriel Ynoa, Michael Fulmer and Domingo Tapia are still pitchers to watch – Matz has had the best start but all four pitchers are worth watching.


Stefan Sabol is leading the way – There are a number of strong hitting performances to start the year, but Sabol’s is perhaps the strongest.

Jared King is the king of walks – That’s 1 each game and two times the number of times he’s struck out.

Akeel Morris has embraced his relief role – 6.2 IP, 14 K, 0.60 WHIP and a 0.00 ERA.  He’s been pretty perfect.

14 comments for “Mets Minors: Rafael Montero impressive in Vegas

  1. Chris F
    April 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Love the Minors updates David! Any reason for me to get excited about the 90 minute drive to seethe K-Mets this year?

    On the pitching front. I’ll admit this is early, too early to be worried, but I am, so is it just me or does Wheeler look like he is possibly considerably less than what we all seem to be projecting? If he cannot control his pitches, he cannot be really good.

    • April 14, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Gotta wait for the draft before I can tell you

  2. eric
    April 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Um…Akeel Morris. Holy…

    • April 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      6.2 IP is not enough to write home about.

      They switched him into relief last year. He still does multiple innings most outings. He’s got serious pure stuff and I could see him competing for closer three years from now.

  3. April 14, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I was one of the people real high on Darrell Ceciliani after his Brooklyn performance (had him 6th in that year’s top 10 list) so I have an additional reason for hoping he can put it all together.

    FWIW, Darin Gorski has 12 Ks in 9.2 IP and a 0.93 ERA. I’d like to know what he has left to prove at Double-A. In parts of three seasons at Binghamton, he has a 3.12 ERA, a .615 winning percentage and a 1.136 WHIP.

    Finally, I will be heartbroken if Rafael Montero is traded.

    • April 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      Gorski is first man up once there is an opening.

  4. Jerry Grote
    April 14, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Meanwhile, in Flushing we have given up 110 of the 483 plate appearances to three players with a combined OPS south of 500.

    Our platoon – no surprise here – at 1B has produced a .182 BA and a .386 slugging percentage. Those ABs, by the way, typically hit either 5th or 6th.

    Two pitchers continue to go to the mound with ERAs north of 10.

    Hey, why gripe? It’s not like there is a talented, 25-30 HR 1B or a 780/great glove SS waiting by the phone. Or like we have any sort of ridiculously deep group of pitchers in the minor leagues. Instead we can put pressure on a prized C talent, and ask starting pitchers to simply do more than what they are capable of (yes, I’m looking at you Dillon Gee) because we have no talent in the bullpen.

    A joke. The team is a joke.

    • Chris F
      April 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      I hear ya all around. All I can say is that I don’t believe that this FO really imagines 90 Ws or even 80. It’s not about 2014, and never has after the Harvey injury. This team is about 2016.

      • David Groveman
        April 14, 2014 at 8:03 pm

        We could always sign Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales and fix a number of the issues. I don’t want Montero up in relief. The best news is that Vic Black is on the mend.

        • Jerry Grote
          April 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

          What I saw last night, for once, was encouraging from Terry. I can see a scenario where the Mets have Montero, Torres and Dice-K all in the bullpen … and typically going at least 2 innings if not 3 and closing out games.

          Frankly, we are one of the few teams that can use this approach. Instead of using three or four pitchers to complete a game we can be a unique team that just uses two pitchers.

          In that situation, I have no problem with Montero going to the pen.

          • Jerseymet
            April 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm

            @JG: Good point. This organization’s wealth of starters allow for piggy backing our starters. The Mets bullpen of recent years has been over used, abused and unsuccessful.

  5. April 14, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Very interested to see how King develops this year. Good value and potential steal in the 5th round.

    • David Groveman
      April 14, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      King doesn’t look like he will develop a ton of power or stolen bases but he could be Daniel Murphy like with the bat and a plus fielder In left.

  6. Metsense
    April 15, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Montero may be better than Gee. Right now Gee can get you a talented player in trade. Phoenix looks very desperate for starting pitching.
    Nimmo is on fire and Dilson Herrera from the Byrd trade is looking strong.
    If Matzusaka is pitching this good at AAA then how do you cash in on his value? Do you bring him up and put him in the rotation just so he gains trade value?
    Poor Zach Lutz and Allan Dykstra, just too many ahead of them. Or are they AAAA players?
    It is a joy to check the minors reports in the morning and see what pitcher was throwing a no hitter, what batter continued their hitting streak and if there was a victory at every level.

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