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Sunday, January 6, 2013

MARK MONTGOMERY: ANOTHER DAVID ROBERTSON?

One of the strengths the Yankees don’t get much credit for over the past five years is their bullpen. Since 2008, the Yankees have posted the third-lowest bullpen ERA in the American League, coming in at 3.56, and second-highest strikeout rate in the AL at 8.4 K/9. A reason why the bullpen has been elite over the past few years is because of David Robertson. In fact, there could be another David Robertson in the Yankees’ farm system that is just a phone call away from the bigs, and that is Mark Montgomery.
Since being drafted by the Yankees in the 11th round of the 2011 draft, Montgomery has rocketed through the system. He’ll start the 2013 season in AAA, and everywhere he’s been he has flourished. In his minor league career, which spans 72 games and 92.2 innings, Montgomery has posted a 1.65 ERA and 30 saves to go along with an outstanding 14.6 strikeout per nine rate. He even pitched to a 2.61 ERA in the Arizona Fall League a few months ago while recording 10 strikeouts in 9.1 innings pitched.
Fair or unfair, Montgomery has received a lot of David Robertson comparisons because he is a reliever who picks up a lot of strikeouts with a nasty breaking ball. However, contrary to Robertson’s wipeout curveball, Montgomery fools his opponents with a devastating slider. Below is a video of Montgomery showcasing his slider against Arizona Fall League competition.


Yankees Vice President and Director of Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer also praised Montgomery by saying he has a “really sick” swing-and-miss slider, while also having the makeup to close games, according to Jack Curry (HERE). Now, one can say that Oppenheimer is saying that to try to pump up the value of Montgomery so they can flip him in a trade, but at the same time it’s always nice to see the higher-ups in the organization praising someone who can contribute in the near future.
The sky is the limit for Montgomery. You don’t strike out nearly 40% of the batters you face in the minors on accident. The comparisons to David Robertson might be going a little overboard, but I truly believe that there’s at least a slight chance that Montgomery reaches his ceiling. Dominant, late-inning relievers like the potential Montgomery has don't grow on trees, and because of that the Yankees could have a pretty special pitcher on their hands.
 


--Jesse Schindler, BYB Lead Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter @SchindlerJesse



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