Having worked him mostly as a starter throughout the minors, the Mets planned to use Rafael Montero in that capacity in the majors should they need any reinforcements in their rotation. Though he struggled badly enough that he was demoted from Triple-A Las Vegas to Double-A Binghamton midseason, Montero got his chance this season in the form of three spot starts with the parent club. Though his first two starts were decent, he didn't perform well overall, yielding 14 walks and three home runs over 11 innings as a starter. That was actually better than his performance out of the bullpen, though, as the once highly regarded prospect allowed a .371 batting average against en route to a 9.00 ERA in six relief appearances. Unless injuries hinder it again, it's not clear if Montero will get a look in the rotation this season. His stock has fallen far enough that it would be difficult to count on him even if he is tabbed for spot duty.
Montero was mentioned by manager Terry Collins as a potential fill-in option for Steven Matz (elbow), who figures to start the season on the disabled list, the New York Post's Mike Puma reports. Seth Lugo remains the favorite to land the fifth spot in the rotation out of camp, but Montero has been excellent this spring, and at the very least he will open the year in the bullpen. Montero has a 1.96 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 18.1 innings in Grapefruit League play, but his career 5.50 FIP in 59.2 innings as a big league starter is a bit more telling.
Montero has made the Mets' Opening Day roster as a reliever, Adam Rubin of ESPN reports. Montero pitched better than just about anybody at Mets camp this spring, posting a 1.96 ERA over 18.1 innings. He'll likely serve in low-leverage situations to begin the 2017 campaign.
Montero allowed four hits and a walk while striking out one over five shutout innings during Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Braves. He now has a 1.96 ERA and 21:8 K:BB in 18.1 innings this spring, and Montero has done everything possible to earn a spot on the big league staff. With Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo also pitching well this spring, though, Montero's probably be headed for a low-leverage long relief role, making him little more than an upside flier for fantasy purposes. Still, the 25-year-old's strikeout potential, and the checkered injury histories of much of the Mets' rotation, do give Montero a clear (if unlikely) path to value if he has rediscovered the form he showed at Triple-A back in 2013-14.
Montero fired two shutout innings during Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Marlins, allowing two hits and striking out three. With a large portion of the Mets' bullpen away at the WBC, Montero's been getting plenty of work this spring and looked dominant at times, posting a 2.70 ERA and 20:7 K:BB through 13.1 innings. His elevated walk rate remains a concern, but with the team looking for a long reliever, the 25-year-old's strikeout prowess may just win him the job.
Montero threw two perfect innings of relief in Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Astros, striking out four. He's now struck out six batters over four shutout innings to begin his spring. Montero's role is still uncertain heading into the 2017 season, and indeed there's no guarantee he's even on the Opening Day 25-man roster, but if he continues pitching like this he could force his way into the fifth starter battle between Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo.