FB: Consistently 92-95, topped out at 98 three times.
92-95 out of the stretch, slowed slightly as he labored in the fifth.
Good life. Armside run. Used it very well inside and up. Needed to use it outside more. Used very effectively up in the zone for Ks.
Runs into a RHH and away from a LHH. Not much run, but enough to be an effective 4th pitch. Needed to control it better and more consistently.
CURVE: 71-74, threw one really slow at 66 ahead in the count with 2 strikes
Sharp movement. Almost more of a slurve but still has hard sink.
Many LHH looked bad on the pitch, several RHH were well out in front and could not adjust. Threw it for a strike early, but struggled to throw it for a strike as his mechanics started to slip.
Excellent movement early in the game. Good armside run. Sunk well. Looked like it just danced away from a RHH. Started to lose the life in the 4th as his mechanics started to get shaky.
MECHANICS: Very clean. Stays on top of his gathering point very well while in the windup. Started to leak later in the game. From the stretch he seems to leak a little as well. Everything was very smooth.
PICKOFFS: Showed 4 pickoff moves. A quick step off the back of the rubber and a throw to first. The classic lefty move with an easy read. A classic lefty move with a much more disguised step toward first. A move where he looked from the runner to the plate and back to the runner before coming over.
FIELDING: Looked good. Had a laser hit back up the middle that he knocked down, picked up, and made a falling throw to first base. Also fielded a slow roller back to the mound, stepped and threw solidly.
ATTITUDE/POISE: Confident, almost arrogant, almost cocky. At least this was his pregame aura as he warmed up and strided to the mound. But he is a very nice young man who has spent 10-15 minutes of his free time talking to me about his relationship with Alan Jaeger and his long toss program. Mike did not seem to be rattled ever in this game even as the Naturals defense struggled and a few close calls went against him from a young umpire. He just got back on the mound and was ready to make his next pitch.
NOTES: Montgomery did a fantastic job in the first inning being very aggressive with his fastball. In fact, he threw only two or three offspeed pitchers the first time through the lineup. He did throw a few cutters but I consider those not to be offspeed and none until the second inning. The fastball had a lot of jump to it and had some good armside run. The change up had some really good armside run as well as some sink. The combination between the two is very good, especially when Mike can control his glove side portion of home plate.
I wanted to see Mike throw the outside fastball more to both LHHs and RHHs. He did a very good job pounding the inner third of the plate, but if you live there with your fastball and don’t establish the outer third, a hitter can sit location on your fastball. If you can mix both effectively, a hitter doesn’t have much of a chance to sit on either location and you can also mix in more effective offspeed pitches. That being said, Mike commanded the top third of the zone using the fastball up as a very effective strike out pitch.
The curveball is really more of a slurve type of pitch. I’m not sure if it always is, or just was this game, but it changed planes aggressively and fairly late. A few LHHs looked absolutely foolish on the pitch ducking out of the zone or swinging and missing by a good three feet. The RHHs were also fooled with the pitch as a few took it for a strike and a few swung well over the top and out in front of it. The velocity and movement make this pitch one of the best in the Royals system. I almost think Montgomery threw it to much in this outing rather than mixing his FBs in and out.
The cut fastball will become a serviceable fourth pitch if Mike can nail down the command. It moves into a RHH and has just a little sink to it. The pitch has potential to be a good compliment to his other fastballs. I would like to see him be able to throw this to both sides of the plate and to have more downhill plane on the pitch. When he missed with it, it was more in the middle of the plate than the edges. This could become an especially good weapon if he can throw it down and away to a RHH with a runner on base. This could become a ground ball machine and induce multiple double plays per game.
Montgomery has three above average pitches and profiles to have a fourth average pitch that can become above average. He has good velocity, kept his poise under some tough circumstances, and great movement. I would like to see Mike add some muscle in his lower half but he is still just 2 years removed from high school. Time will add the muscle to his body.