On-Base Perception

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Rafael Montero: What to expect from the Mets prospect

Mets pitcher Rafael Montero looks on during spring

Mets pitcher Rafael Montero looks on during spring training on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Rafael Montero, one of the top pitching prospects in the Mets organization, makes his major league debut in a start against the Yankees on Wednesday night.

Here's what you can expect to see from the 6-foot righthander:


Montero's calling card is his excellent command. In 390 minor league innings, he's struck out 367 hitters and walked 85 -- a 4.32 strikeout to walk ratio.He's uncharacteristically walked 18 in 41.2 innings in Triple-A this season (with 41 strikeouts), but when he's on his game, he's not going to give any bases away for free.


So if Montero won't walk hitters... how do they fare hitting against him? Not well. He's allowed 317 hits in 390 innings and his minor league WHIP is 1.03. Typically a starting pitcher will have a WHIP somewhere between 1.20 and 1.30. A very good reliever will be near 1.00. Montero achieves the best of both worlds, limiting hitters like a reliever, but enduring over a longer span.


In his 390 innings, Montero has allowed a total of 19 home runs. That's all the more impressive when you consider where he's pitched recently. The Las Vegas 51s, the Mets' Triple-A affiliate, play in the Pacific Coast League. The 51s home park is known for being a pitcher's version of purgatory (or worse) and the PCL is generally regarded as an offensive league. Still, Montero, in 131.1 innings, has allowed only seven home runs. He also permitted just 115 hits. For comparison, Zack Wheeler pitched 68.2 innings for Las Vegas and allowed nine home runs.


Montero uses a fastball, changeup and slider. The first two are his best pitches, according to Baseball America, and his fastball sits in the low 90s, though it can reach 95 mph on occasion.


Montero is highly regarded for his demeanor on the mound with Baseball America going so far as to note that despite Montero's small frame, "his plus-plus command and poise are such assets that he defies convention."

Here are some videos of Montero at work:

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