In the Kansas City Royals 2009 Minor League Review that I wrote this past off-season, here is what I mentioned about Montgomery:
His curveball is considered his best pitch, his 89 to 93 mph fastball has more potential to develop velocity and movement, also throws an average changeup and the rare palmball. He is on the fast track, [he might receive a] September call-up if his 2010 season goes well. He’ll probably be getting a Scouting the Unknown article sometime in the upcoming summer.
Looks like I can predict the future too. Baseball America said his changeup was his best pitch, John Sickels said his curveball was, Keith Law says his changeup is his best pitch – I’ll go with the majority and say his change-up is his best. Either way, his fastball sits between 90 to 93 MPH and touches 94-95 with the potential to gain more velocity as his frame fills out. His traditional curveball is getting better and the Royals are trying to phase out the palmball. Mechanically speaking, his delivery is sound and repeatable. Possesses great mound presence and is a fierce competitor (just ask his high school basketball team – he was kicked off for receiving too many technical fouls). He still needs to improve his off-speed pitches, but has been praised for his work ethic, his command, and has been compared to Andy Pettitte for his upside. How has his 2010 season fared so far? (Stats include High-A, Double-A and his four innings in the Arizona Rookie League.)
2010 Stats: 9.6 K/9 | 2.2 BB/9 | 58 1/3 IP | 1.85 ERA | 2.60 FIP | .93 WHIP | .2 Hr/9 | 6.2 H/9 | .264 BABIP | 48.7 GB% | 13.2 LD% | 30.9 FB% | 9 IF/F% | 2.1 Hr/FB% | 1.26 GO/AO
Career Stats: 8.3 K/9 | 2.6 BB/9 | 211 IP | 2.00 ERA | 3.01 FIP | 1.01 WHIP | .2 Hr/9 | .261 BABIP | 51.2 GB% | 12 LD% | 29.8 FB% | 10.1 IF/F% | 2.2 Hr/FB%
Has a great career groundball percentage (51.2 GB%), the walk ratio is falling since Class Low-A in 2009, keeps the ball in the park (.2 Hr/9 for career). Career ERA-FIP difference is largely due to his abnormally low BABIP (.261 for career and .264 in 2010), which is a concern because his ratios probably will drop a little higher in the minors, subsequently his ratios won’t look as good. It’s especially important to note that Montgomery is currently rehabbing in the Rookie Arizona League. What’s he rehabbing? A sore elbow. He’s been on the DL twice for the same injury this year. Cust kayin’. When healthy, he’s going to be mid-rotation pitcher with number two potential.
Dustin Ackley. Every scouts’ and fans’ dream, has some pedigree (father reached Triple-A for the Boston Red Sox), was his college’s superstar, and was drafted to be the next star in Seattle. Possesses a “pure left-handed swing, an amazing feel for hitting, good bat speed and control; Keith Law calls his swings, “one of the best in pro ball.” (Yes, just like he said about Lonnie Chisenhall). His swing is short, with some power, average power (more line drive and gap-to-gap power) not the 22 home run power he displayed in college. He also has great hand-eye coordination, and great pitch recognition. His speed ranks a 70 on the 80 scale with his wheels being called Plus-Plus (the highest it can be). He had Tommy John surgery in college and hasn’t fully recovered yet, thus, still playing second base (not first or center field like the reports were this past winter). Notice how his defense was essentially ignored? Yeah, everyone mentioned that it doesn’t matter where he plays, he’ll hit. Seems like a lame way to say they aren’t sure where he’ll play. How has his season progressed? (stats from Double-A and Triple-A.)
2010 Stats: .266/.383/.391 | 327 AB | 31 XBH | 3 Hr | .125 ISO | 8/2 SB/CS | 45:58 K:BB | .301 BABIP | 55.2 GB% | 12.5 LD% | 32.4 FB% | 15.9 IF/F%
His overall line is skewed by a .167 average in April. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is stellar, his power is in his 24 doubles, and his speed isn’t translating to the basepaths like one would hope (only eight steals while being on-base at a .383 clip). However, some of the scouting reports mentioned only 20 to 25 steals a year with moderate power (10 to 15 home runs). There are an awful lot of groundballs being hit (55.2 GB%) with few screaming liners (12.5 LD%) and a few too many infield-flies (15.9 IF/F%). He has 14 errors at second base this year, but only one in ten games at Triple-A (promoted on 7-14-2010). He’s still really young (just 22), and it’s his first season of pro ball. Gotta give him a little longer leash, especially with his pedigree (number two pick and family), but hold high expectations in check. Baseball America says there are, “no natural comparisons,” but a Dustin Pedroia comparison, sans defense, seems close for his upside with middle ground potential being Placido Polanco. Beyond that, you won’t care. As long as he stays at second base, he’ll have much more value in fantasy baseball. I think the Polanco comparison is more reasonable in this stage of his career. Possible fantasy line: 10 home runs, 20 steals with a .300 average for his typical season. His ETA: 2011; probably more a June call-up rather than a Jason Heyward start.