On Monday, the New York Yankees announced that left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery will pitch on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. The 24-year-old out of South Carolina has officially earned the fifth rotation spot for the Yankees.
Going into spring training, the Yankees held a competition between Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Adam Warren, Luis Severino and Bryan Mitchell for the final two spots in the major-league rotation. Montgomery was originally slated to head to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders but came out of nowhere this spring to force his name into the conversation for the last spot.
When spring training came to an end, it was down to Montgomery and Chad Green, both of whom pitched for the Tampa Yankees on minor league opening day with Montgomery allowing an unearned run on three hits and a walk while striking out eight in the game.
Montgomery was then transferred to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders where he was expected to start on Tuesday, but with the news of his upcoming promotion and major league debut, Chad Green will make that start instead. To make room on the Scranton roster, Montgomery was transferred to Extended Spring Training.
Over his minor-league career, Jordan Montgomery appeared in 61 games, 57 starts, with just six games of Triple-A experience all coming I 2016 when he went 6-1 with a 0.97 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched for the RailRiders. Overall, he owned a 25-14 minor league record with a 2.57 ERA and struck out 294 batters over 297 2/3 career innings.
Montgomery was reaping the benefits of a change in his mechanics in 2015 and 2016. The adjustment helped him add velocity so instead of the 88-92 MPH fastball he had before the draft he was throwing 91-94 MPH with regular consistency at the end of 2015. At the beginning of the 2016 season, Montgomery was reaching as high as 96 MPH on the radar gun. After his promotion to the RailRiders, he saw a decrease in velocity, but that could be from exhaustion setting in at the end of the season.
Montgomery possesses three secondary pitches that he has used to his advantage in getting batters out. His best secondary pitch is his changeup which his considered a plus-pitch that he delivers just as if he was throwing his fastball. Montgomery is continuing to develop his curveball that is becoming a top tool in his repertoire, and his cutter is still developing but is effective.
You cannot talk about Jordan Montgomery without talking about his ability to command his pitches. He possesses above-average to plus command of all his pitches, putting it wherever he needs to, to get the out. He has a clean delivery that he can repeat with ease allowing him to go deep into games. Overall, he projects to be a mid-rotation candidate that can go deep into games and eat innings. He has shown he can get both lefties and righties out with ease in the minors and if spring training was any indication he is likely to find success in the majors.