Name: Jordan Montgomery
DOB: December 27, 1992
Repertoire. Fastball, Changeup, Curveball, Slider.
Fastball. Noted more for his pinpoint fastball command than his average 88-92 mph big league fastball velocity coming up through the amateur ranks, Montgomery, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 225 pounds, has learned how to use his legs more in his delivery at the professional level and the end result has been a sizeable velo jump. He began sitting more in the 91-94 mph range over the final two months of his first full season in 2015 and saw it bump up even a tad more last season, sitting more 92-94 mph and routinely topping out at 96 mph. The good news is the added power hasn't really affected his excellent command either so he is still able to paint corners with the best of them. That combination of above average velocity with way above average command gives him a borderline plus fastball overall and that's not even including the excellent movement he's able to generate with his sinking two-seamer either. The fastball plays extremely well both as a contact out-pitch and a strikeout pitch.
Other Pitches. As is often the case with notoriously high pitch-ability guys noted more for command than power stuff, Montgomery has always had one of the better changeups around too. In fact, it's a plus-plus big league offering considering the fade, depth, top-notch command, and excellent arm speed it has. It is the mirror image of his fastball delivery-wise and it too is a big-time strikeout weapon and contact out-pitch against both right-handed and left-handed batters. It is his bread-and-butter pitch. He rounds out his extremely deep repertoire with a breaking ball arsenal that has quickly become 'pick your poison' time as there's really no telling which one he's going to throw in a particular situation or which one could be better on a given day. The pitch he's been throwing longer of the two is his curveball but even it's current state isn't all that new. Once an elusive pitch for him in college, it now has great late bite and diving action, and it is yet another strikeout pitch for him. Averaging 78-81 mph, it's an above average big league offering. The same can be said of his rapidly developing slider too. Sitting more in the 85-87 mph range, it has consistent late break, command, strikeout effectiveness, etc, all the hallmark signature trademarks of a Jordan Montgomery offering.
Pitching. Montgomery has been and continues to be all about the pitch-ability. His game begins and ends with great command of what is now four above average or better big league pitches [five if you include both the four-seam and two-seam fastball] and his innate strike-throwing ability makes him extremely efficient on the mound. Throw in one of the easier arm actions and deliveries around, that natural pitch efficiency combines with his natural strength and high-end endurance to allow him to eat a ton of innings too. He has the ability to live in the strike zone as consistently as anyone and in all four quadrants given his extensive repetoire but the stuff is also so tantalizing that he can expand the strike zone if he chooses. Very athletic, he fields his position and holds runners well. A high makeup, high character individual too with one of the better work ethics around, he is extremely coachable and very sponge-like taking in information. It's his uncanny ability to make the necessary small tweaks to his game to constantly improve that allows his ceiling to never be truly tapped either.
Projection. Montgomery has no weaknesses, plain and simple! He checks off every box of a potential would-be big league starting pitcher; size, strength, endurance, command, pitch-ability, stuff, and the kind of huge mental makeup and fiery competitive nature that allows his above average tools to be truly maximized too. It's that last part that can be overstated either -- his second-to-none drive for perfection makes him one of the more consistent performers to date and it's that insatiable desire to improve that allows him to not only avoid tapping his ceiling but quite honestly keep pushing up his ceiling further and further. Most pundits want to put various pitches in a particular grade, gather all the grades, and project where a pitcher fits in a big league rotation. The problem with Montgomery is the pitcher he often is when a season starts is a shade of his former self by season's end because his game has improved so much. Wherever he fits in to a big league rotation, whether it's a number four or somewhere in the front-half, the fact is he has the kind of game that can pitch like an 'ace' on any given day and be one of the more consistent performers overall.
ETA. 2017. We've said from his selection out of the University of South Carolina that he had the kind of game to move extremely fast through the minor leagues and just two full seasons later he's big league ready already. He could pitch in the Bronx right out of Spring Training this year if team needs call for it so even if he were to begin the season back in Triple-A Scranton chances are he wouldn't be there for long. He is an immediate big league starting option.