Name: Jordan Montgomery
DOB: December 27, 1992
Repertoire. Fastball, Changeup, Curveball, Slider.
Fastball. Montgomery entered the professional ranks averaging anywhere from 88-92 mph with both his four-seam and sinking two-seam fastballs, and was noted more for his command than his velocity. While he still averaged in the high-80s with his fastball for the better part of the first half of his first full season last year he was able to figure out how to use his legs more and clean up his mechanics better, and the end result was being able to bump his average velocity up to the 91-94 mph range in the final two months of the season and he still had the above average, borderline plus command. Considering how big he is it isn't out of the realm of possibility that he isn't done adding velocity either, especially as he continues to get professional coaching. Once merely average velocity-wise, he now boasts above average velocity with the chance to potentially add more.
Other Pitches. Even when he was sitting at the lower velocity with his fastball Montgomery was still consistently successful and it was mainly due to his plus-plus changeup. His changeup is everything anyone would want in the pitch; it's the mirror image of his fastball delivery, it's a ridiculous twelve miles per hour slower than his fastball most times, it shows great fade and depth, and he can paint it wherever he wants it. It has been and continues to be his main strikeout weapon against both lefties and righties. What has aided his game recently in addition to throwing his fastball harder is rapidly developing what was not all that long ago a non-existent breaking ball into a now plus pitch, namely his curveball. Like his changeup it now gets great late bite and command have never been an issue for him. It has become another big strikeout pitch for him. He rounds his repertoire with a slower developing slider that has now taken a back seat to his curveball but considering how quickly the curveball has come it would be unwise to rule out the slider becoming a reliable pitch in due time as he continues his development. Sitting 82-85 mph, the slider gives batters just another look.
Pitching. Montgomery is all about the pitch-ability. His game begins and ends with great command of what is now three above average or better big league pitches and his innate strike-throwing ability makes him extremely efficient on the mound. That, along with an easy pitching motion, not only allows him to pitch deeper into games but combining that with his natural strength and endurance he can eat a lot of innings. Possessing great makeup and a high level of competitiveness that is a signature trademark of most SEC pitchers, he has a great work ethic and is very coachable. Sponge-like, he takes to instruction very well and shows an ability to make quick in-game adjustments. He is very athletic too, fields his position well, and is able to control the running game.
Projection. Montgomery has very few weaknesses, if any. In fact, he has nearly everything anyone would want in a pitcher; size, strength, endurance, command, stuff, competitive fire, and huge makeup, and all of that spells eventual big league middle of the rotation starting pitcher someday, thanks in large part to the rapid development of his breaking ball in 2015. He still has to prove he can sustain that late-season, above average velocity over the course of a full season to maintain that kind of ceiling. However, considering how far his game has come in relatively quick fashion and still showing some upside both velocity-wise with his fastball and a lot of room for improvement with his still developing slider his ceiling could still wind up being higher. He's not done developing yet and that's a scary proposition for somebody with his kind of now stuff, great command, and advanced pitch-ability.
ETA. 2017. A year ago we said Montgomery would only move as fast as his breaking ball develops and that he could really move up the minor leagues in a hurry since the rest of his game was big league ready, and he's now at that point. He's a strong candidate to open up the 2016 season in Double-A Trenton and even if he has to start the year back in high-A Tampa initially he's still going to see significant time in the Eastern League. He is quickly becoming a potential viable big league option as soon as the following season.