For about three years, we have heard all about the plethora of young arms that the New York Mets have coming through their system. We have seen these guys come up and produce on a high level immediately; guys like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom would all fall into that category.
We have also seen some of the young arms take some time before they have made an impact at the big league level. Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Josh Edgin all have taken their bumps in the majors, but are finally pitching to their potential.
A guy who fans have heard much about and seen little of is Rafael Montero. He was called up in mid-May and made his MLB debut against the crosstown rival New York Yankees, but was sent back down after four starts. When deGrom went down with an injury, Montero was recalled to take his spot in the rotation, but his struggles in the majors continued as he was roughed up by the Washington Nationals.
The main problem for Montero is that he falls behind the count far too often. In each of his first five starts, he has had a significantly high pitch count early in games. This is due to the fact that he falls behind early in the count and has had trouble getting his off-speed pitches over for strikes.
Falling behind in counts is a recipe for disaster for any pitcher, and it has been way to frequent with Montero. Another problem he has had is that he has given up way too many home runs, which is a direct result of falling behind in the count.
Over 25 innings of work this season, he has given up eight homers, which is flat-out horrible. Seeing Harvey, Wheeler and deGrom be so successful from the very beginning makes me forget that sometimes it takes time for young pitchers to flourish at the major league level.
It seems like that is going to be the case with Montero, who looks to have a great deal of learning to do despite having good enough stuff to be an impact pitcher.