New York Mets Should Promote SP Rafael Montero

By Paul Festa
Rafael Montero
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

SP Jenrry Mejia‘s last three starts have not been anything to write home about. He’s given up 16 earned runs combined, and has failed to make it out of the fifth inning twice. In his last start, he only gave up two runs, but he was wild, walking three and falling behind hitter after hitter. He was lifted at the 101-pitch mark after 4.2 innings. His recent ineffectiveness — most of which happens when he faced the opposition’s batting order the third time — has led to serious talk about moving him to the bullpen. If so, there is a strong possibility that prospect Rafael Montero will be promoted from Triple-A to take Mejia’s place in the rotation, and that would be smart move by the Mets.

The New York Mets need a little excitement. Most Mets fans have only one reason for optimism, and that’s the future. Now would be a great time to start rolling out their pitching prospects. Out of the Big 3 in Las Vegas (Montero, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom), Montero has the most innings in Triple-A. He has advanced command, and has had pretty good success in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

Other possible options to take Mejia’s start in the rotation would be veteran Daisuke Matsuzaka or deGrom, who is already on the 40-man roster. They could also keep Mejia in the rotation and use Montero or deGrom in the bullpen, but rumor has it the Mets’ front office is leaning toward putting Montero in the rotation.

What to do with Mejia isn’t completely clear. He’s squeamish about moving to the bullpen, because he blames his stint in the bullpen for the elbow injury in 2010, that ultimately led to Tommy John surgery. He did say that he would be receptive to an eighth or ninth inning role, which would lead to more predictable work. If the Mets want to keep their veteran relievers in the bigs, they could plug Mejia into Las Vegas’s starting rotation instead.

But Montero is ready. He has a 3.67 ERA in Vegas, and has been impressive his entire minor league career. The Mets need to generate interest in their product, and giving the fans a glimpse of what they will be seeing in the near future is just the way to do that.

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