New York Mets prospect Rafael Montero made his Grapefruit League debut Thursday afternoon against the Washington Nationals. The 22-year-old right-hander, who recorded a 2.36 ERA while compiling 110 strikeouts vs. just 19 walks in 122 innings of A ball last year, gave up one run on three hits in two innings of work during his start against Washington.
Stephen Strausburg may have stolen the show with his six strikeouts over three innings (show off), but Terry Collins was pleased with what he saw out of his young hurler.
He’s got a good arm,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I like the fact that he really pounds the strike zone with his stuff. Great poise on the mound. Great demeanor. Pretty impressive.”
Yesterday, in a conference call with media and bloggers, Sandy Alderson was asked the following question from Chris McShane of Amazin’ Avenue:
“How tempted might you be to trade some of the depth for a promising minor league hitter, or an outfielder, if things are going well in the middle of the season?
The Mets GM gave the following response and I can’t help but wonder Montero, who the Mets named the Sterling Organization Pitcher of the Year in 2012, is one of the players he expects to emerge on a more ‘national scale’:
Photo by Michael G. Baron
The nice thing is we haven’t been put to that test yet. This offseason was all about the R.A. Dickey trade. We did try to get involved with Justin Upton and some other outfield trade possibilities. Those didn’t came to fruition in part because we weren’t prepared to trade any of our frontline prospects. What’s interesting is, below that group, we have a number of outstanding pitching prospects, but they’re a little under the radar now. What we need to be doing, of the list, is how we rank them, and who might be available. Many of them are at the stage now where you’re going to have to do a certain amount of projection. And, you’re not always right about your projections. Sometimes you under project, over-project. The nice thing is we haven’t been tempted yet. But, that time is coming. A number of these guys who were at Brooklyn, Savannah, or St. Lucie will begin to emerge on a more national scale. The temptation to move some of these players to shore up some weaknesses elsewhere will be forthcoming, and we need to be ready for that.
It looks like I will be on full blown ‘Montero watch’ throughout the season as he seems to already be turning heads and could progress quickly through the system in 2012.