Rafael Montero entered this season as the New York Mets' second best pitching prospect behind Noah Syndergaard. Expectations were high when Montero made his major league debut in the Subway Series on May 14th, and Montero didn't quite live up those expectations. Montero's four starts were a mixed bag, and he was sent down again on May 31st with an 0-2 record and a 5.40 ERA. While Montero struggled for a while after he was demoted, he got back on track of late and now has a golden opportunity to show why his stock was so high in May.
Montero battled injury in the minor leagues and missed nearly a month of action, but has been in top form of late. Montero was named the Pacific Coast League's Player of the Week last week after posting two brilliant turns. In those two starts, Montero pitched 14.2 innings and allowed no runs while giving up four hits and four walks while striking out 17 batters. For the season, Montero is 6-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 74 innings pitched for the Las Vegas 51's. Montero has also struck out 9.1 batters per nine innings, and scouts have noted that Montero's confidence appears to be back after a rough stretch after his demotion.
Montero is back in New York after Jacob deGrom's MRI revealed shoulder tendonitis, and odds are that the Mets will try and ease deGrom back into action. Montero should have several weeks to show the Mets that he should be a factor in their rotation beyond this season, and he certainly has the talent to do so. Even if Montero doesn't earn a spot with the Mets right now, he could be auditioning for teams that could look to acquire him in a trade this winter. Montero's time is now, and based on his last several starts he looks as if he is ready to seize his opportunity this time.
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