Scouting Yankees Prospect #12:Mark Montgomery

The Yankees drafted right-handed pitcher Mark Montgomery in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Longwood College. All he has done in one year's time is advance all the way up to the Double-A level and dominate every step along the way.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Mark Montgomery
Position: Pitcher
DOB: August 30, 1990
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 205
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He followed up his tremendous debut season in 2011 with an even more dominating performance in 2012, posting a combined 7-2 record with 15 saves, a 1.54 ERA, strike out 99 batters in just 64 1/3 innings, and hold opposing batters to a paltry .154 batting average between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.

"I definitely think it was a positive season," Montgomery humbly said. "I definitely ended it on a strong note I think out in Arizona playing against some of the best competition, playing well and rising to the top of that.

"All in all it was a pretty good year. I had some ups and downs and a week or so here and there where I didn't throw too well, but I started out in Tampa and did well and then ended up pitching pretty well in the Trenton playoffs."

It wasn't just the numbers that were impressive, however, it was his ever-evolving mindset that really turned heads. He recognized in his debut season that higher level hitters might not offer at his plus slider out of the zone and that his game, while extremely effective at the time, still needed to be changed.

"Learning that hitters are smarter and that you're going to have to establish a pitch for a strike the higher you go up before they'll chase it is where I made a big improvement," he said.

"When I was in Staten Island or Charleston I could flip my slider over and get some swings and misses, but the higher you go up in Trenton and especially in the [Arizona] Fall League guys were not really chasing my slider earlier in counts when I wasn't establishing it for a strike.

"I think just learning hitters more and be able to locate my pitches more effectively is where I made the biggest strides."

He knew even back then that he had to not only throw more strikes with his fastball-slider combination, but that he to work more consistently ahead in counts and that meant better fastball command overall.

"Definitely fastball location -- I started getting a lot more swings and misses and strikeouts on fastballs because I could put them where I wanted to," he said. "Guys were reading the scouting report and looking for sliders so I'd sneak [fastballs] by them here and there.

"My fastball command improved dramatically. I think I cut down on walks a good amount. I think that has to do with experience and being in the back-end of games a lot, just calm the nerves and be able to get ahead."

He made it a point to improve his fastball command and slider location within the strike zone in 2012 and he did just that. While not nearly to the same level developmentally, he also worked on harnessing a better changeup.

"I threw it a couple of times here and there in Tampa and it was pretty good," he said. "Once I got to Trenton [though] we got into the playoffs so it was more of a 'here we need to get guys out'.

"Once you get to Trenton I don't think it's really as big with development as it is getting outs and helping the team win. Once I got to the Fall League I was throwing the changeup a lot in bullpens and things like that. I've been throwing it pretty well here in camp and getting more comfortable with it."

It would seem elementary given just how far his improved fastball and slider command has come that he would make incorporating more changeups into his repertoire the next big item on his things to do list, but Montgomery isn't ready to take the foot off of the proverbial gas just yet.

"Yeah just have that pitch to show," he admitted. "I don't think I'm necessarily go into camp using it a lot. Like I said it's not as much about development now, it's just pitching effectively and getting guys out.

"But you can always get better everyday in anything so this is going to be a continuation of spotting up, getting ahead of hitters and challenging hitters as opposed to nit-picking a little bit and throwing behind in the count."

Once beholden to getting batters to chase his pitches out of the zone, Montgomery has proven he has what it takes to pitch more consistently ahead in counts, pound strikes within the zone, and still keep hitters off-balance.

His confidence, which never was an issue from the time of his selection, is now at an all-time high. And given his track record of dominating batters he is now one of the top in-house relief options for the Yankees, and he is close to securing one of those spots sometime soon.

"I don't think I've ever bought into the speculation. I don't get caught up in that. I just approach each day as I'm going to work my butt off every day and Lord willing I'll be put wherever I need to be.

"I trust them with everything so I'm just going to go out, work hard, compete everyday, and let the cards fall where they may," he concluded.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2012

Trenton

3-1

1

24.0

12

6

38

1.88

2012

Tampa

4-1

14

40.1

23

16

61

1.34

2011

Charleston

0-0

14

24.1

17

11

41

1.85

2011

Staten Island

0-0

1

4.0

3

2

10

2.25



Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Montgomery is known for his knockout breaking ball but it really is his above average fastball that plays up to a plus level that is the foundation of his success. Sitting mostly 92-94 mph with his four-seam fastball, he has an extremely quick arm, a low three-quarter delivery, and whipping action with his release, and the combination gives his fastball a lot of deception. It appears to be coming in on batters a lot quicker than it actually is. He can also crank it up the 95-96 mph range at times. The command of his fastball went from average at best to clearly above average in one year too.

Other Pitches. His great slider is what he is really known for because few batters, especially right-handers, can lay off of it let alone barrel it up. The reason why it's so good too is because he can throw it two different ways. He can throw a harder, late-breaking one within the zone with good command at 85 mph for called strikes and he can begin the break earlier, place it out of the zone, and get guys to reluctantly chase. He has a show-me changeup that he will mix in from time to time just to give hitters another look but it isn't a pitch he uses very often.

Pitching. There is no real mystery to Montgomery's approach on the mound -- he is up there to get guys out quickly and that means getting ahead in counts. The effectiveness of his slider is an intimidating weapon too because hitters have to guard against it and that allows him to steal some strikes earlier in the count with his fastball and even the occasional changeup. His game is also predicated on deception because the fastball appears to be quicker than it is, he can throw his slider two different ways, and he'll throw the pitch the batter is least expecting in a certain count. He is also extremely adept at keeping the ball in the yard, allowing just one home run in his career thus far. What brings it all together though is his bulldog approach.

Projection. It's a fact that there are pitchers who throw harder who have higher ceilings than Montgomery. However, while most pitchers with his velocity range best project at potential big league setup men -- a projection that best suits Montgomery -- there is no denying that his entire game plays at the highest level and it's because of his deception, improved fastball command, and possession of a truly plus-plus pitch. Think David Robertson as a pitcher who should break into the big leagues as a seventh inning type but one who will eventually slide further and further towards the back-end of bullpen role-wise as a potential setup man or closer.

ETA. 2013. We initially had Montgomery's ETA a year later than this but he has little to prove at the minor league level going forward. Even if he begins the year in Triple-A or back in Double-A, it's going to be hard to keep him out of the big league bullpen mix at some point this season.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Mark Montgomery
\r\nPosition: Pitcher
\r\nDOB: August 30, 1990
\r\nHeight: 5'11\"
\r\nWeight: 205
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nHe followed up his tremendous debut season in 2011 with an even more dominating performance in 2012, posting a combined 7-2 record with 15 saves, a 1.54 ERA, strike out 99 batters in just 64 1/3 innings, and hold opposing batters to a paltry .154 batting average between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.
\r\n
\r\n\"I definitely think it was a positive season,\" Montgomery humbly said. \"I definitely ended it on a strong note I think out in Arizona playing against some of the best competition, playing well and rising to the top of that.
\r\n
\r\n\"All in all it was a pretty good year. I had some ups and downs and a week or so here and there where I didn't throw too well, but I started out in Tampa and did well and then ended up pitching pretty well in the Trenton playoffs.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt wasn't just the numbers that were impressive, however, it was his ever-evolving mindset that really turned heads. He recognized in his debut season that higher level hitters might not offer at his plus slider out of the zone and that his game, while extremely effective at the time, still needed to be changed.
\r\n
\r\n\"Learning that hitters are smarter and that you're going to have to establish a pitch for a strike the higher you go up before they'll chase it is where I made a big improvement,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I was in Staten Island or Charleston I could flip my slider over and get some swings and misses, but the higher you go up in Trenton and especially in the [Arizona] Fall League guys were not really chasing my slider earlier in counts when I wasn't establishing it for a strike.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think just learning hitters more and be able to locate my pitches more effectively is where I made the biggest strides.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe knew even back then that he had to not only throw more strikes with his fastball-slider combination, but that he to work more consistently ahead in counts and that meant better fastball command overall.
\r\n
\r\n\"Definitely fastball location -- I started getting a lot more swings and misses and strikeouts on fastballs because I could put them where I wanted to,\" he said. \"Guys were reading the scouting report and looking for sliders so I'd sneak [fastballs] by them here and there.
\r\n
\r\n\"My fastball command improved dramatically. I think I cut down on walks a good amount. I think that has to do with experience and being in the back-end of games a lot, just calm the nerves and be able to get ahead.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe made it a point to improve his fastball command and slider location within the strike zone in 2012 and he did just that. While not nearly to the same level developmentally, he also worked on harnessing a better changeup.
\r\n
\r\n\"I threw it a couple of times here and there in Tampa and it was pretty good,\" he said. \"Once I got to Trenton [though] we got into the playoffs so it was more of a 'here we need to get guys out'.
\r\n
\r\n\"Once you get to Trenton I don't think it's really as big with development as it is getting outs and helping the team win. Once I got to the Fall League I was throwing the changeup a lot in bullpens and things like that. I've been throwing it pretty well here in camp and getting more comfortable with it.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt would seem elementary given just how far his improved fastball and slider command has come that he would make incorporating more changeups into his repertoire the next big item on his things to do list, but Montgomery isn't ready to take the foot off of the proverbial gas just yet.
\r\n
\r\n\"Yeah just have that pitch to show,\" he admitted. \"I don't think I'm necessarily go into camp using it a lot. Like I said it's not as much about development now, it's just pitching effectively and getting guys out.
\r\n
\r\n\"But you can always get better everyday in anything so this is going to be a continuation of spotting up, getting ahead of hitters and challenging hitters as opposed to nit-picking a little bit and throwing behind in the count.\"
\r\n
\r\nOnce beholden to getting batters to chase his pitches out of the zone, Montgomery has proven he has what it takes to pitch more consistently ahead in counts, pound strikes within the zone, and still keep hitters off-balance.
\r\n
\r\nHis confidence, which never was an issue from the time of his selection, is now at an all-time high. And given his track record of dominating batters he is now one of the top in-house relief options for the Yankees, and he is close to securing one of those spots sometime soon.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't think I've ever bought into the speculation. I don't get caught up in that. I just approach each day as I'm going to work my butt off every day and Lord willing I'll be put wherever I need to be.
\r\n
\r\n\"I trust them with everything so I'm just going to go out, work hard, compete everyday, and let the cards fall where they may,\" he concluded.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2012

\r\n

\r\n Trenton

\r\n

\r\n 3-1

\r\n

1

\r\n

\r\n 24.0

\r\n

\r\n 12

\r\n

\r\n 6

\r\n

\r\n 38

\r\n

\r\n 1.88

\r\n

\r\n 2012

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n 4-1

\r\n

14

\r\n

\r\n 40.1

\r\n

\r\n 23

\r\n

\r\n 16

\r\n

\r\n 61

\r\n

\r\n 1.34

\r\n

\r\n 2011

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n 0-0

\r\n

14

\r\n

\r\n 24.1

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 41

\r\n

\r\n 1.85

\r\n

\r\n 2011

\r\n

\r\n Staten Island

\r\n

\r\n 0-0

\r\n

1

\r\n

\r\n 4.0

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 10

\r\n

\r\n 2.25


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Montgomery is known for his knockout breaking ball but it really is his above average fastball that plays up to a plus level that is the foundation of his success. Sitting mostly 92-94 mph with his four-seam fastball, he has an extremely quick arm, a low three-quarter delivery, and whipping action with his release, and the combination gives his fastball a lot of deception. It appears to be coming in on batters a lot quicker than it actually is. He can also crank it up the 95-96 mph range at times. The command of his fastball went from average at best to clearly above average in one year too.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. His great slider is what he is really known for because few batters, especially right-handers, can lay off of it let alone barrel it up. The reason why it's so good too is because he can throw it two different ways. He can throw a harder, late-breaking one within the zone with good command at 85 mph for called strikes and he can begin the break earlier, place it out of the zone, and get guys to reluctantly chase. He has a show-me changeup that he will mix in from time to time just to give hitters another look but it isn't a pitch he uses very often.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. There is no real mystery to Montgomery's approach on the mound -- he is up there to get guys out quickly and that means getting ahead in counts. The effectiveness of his slider is an intimidating weapon too because hitters have to guard against it and that allows him to steal some strikes earlier in the count with his fastball and even the occasional changeup. His game is also predicated on deception because the fastball appears to be quicker than it is, he can throw his slider two different ways, and he'll throw the pitch the batter is least expecting in a certain count. He is also extremely adept at keeping the ball in the yard, allowing just one home run in his career thus far. What brings it all together though is his bulldog approach.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. It's a fact that there are pitchers who throw harder who have higher ceilings than Montgomery. However, while most pitchers with his velocity range best project at potential big league setup men -- a projection that best suits Montgomery -- there is no denying that his entire game plays at the highest level and it's because of his deception, improved fastball command, and possession of a truly plus-plus pitch. Think David Robertson as a pitcher who should break into the big leagues as a seventh inning type but one who will eventually slide further and further towards the back-end of bullpen role-wise as a potential setup man or closer.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2013. We initially had Montgomery's ETA a year later than this but he has little to prove at the minor league level going forward. Even if he begins the year in Triple-A or back in Double-A, it's going to be hard to keep him out of the big league bullpen mix at some point this season.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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