Frankie Montas lights up the radar gun and has the off-speed pitches to keep major league hitters off-balance.
He’s got the type of arm that would be ideal in the bullpen during the late innings, but the other element Montas brings to the team is his experience as a starter.
In the minors, Montas has been used a starter. This year in Birmingham, the right-hander started 23 games and had a good deal of success, going 5-5 with a 2.97 ERA while striking out 108 and walking 48.
Montas flashed on Sunday why he was the No. 3 prospect in the team’s organization according to MLBPipeline.com coming into the year.
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After getting himself into a jam in the sixth inning against the Twins when he loaded the bases and allowed a RBI hit to Joe Mauer with only one out, Montas used his dynamic arsenal to battle and get the young and talented Miguel Sano and Trevor Plouffe, who feasted on Sox pitching all weekend, swinging.
“I was like ‘Come on, don’t let them score’ and just hit the spot and make good pitches,” Montas said.
Sunday was only Montas’ third major league appearance, but it was also his longest. The other two outings he only went one inning each. White Sox manager Robin Ventura was pleased to see Montas take advantage of the situation the team was in by working through tough innings.
“I thought he battled well,” Ventura said. “Even in some situations loading up the bases in the middle of their lineup, he found a way to find something and get out of it. For him to get in there and go multiple innings was big for us to eat up some innings because (Chris) Sale didn’t go that long.”
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Montas likely won’t factor in to the rotation picture for 2016 but could be a tempting option coming out of the bullpen to go along with other power pitches such as Nate Jones, Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam. Another option, thanks to Montas’ history as a starter, would be to have him as the “long man” in the bullpen when a starter is pulled early.
Catcher Tyler Flowers admitted he and Montas still have some work to do to get on the same page with his breaking balls but the rookie’s stuff is good enough to make hitters look silly.
“I thought he did a really nice job executing pitches later in counts, going for the strikeout and making sure he's down,” Flowers said. “That only works when you can throw it for strikes, and he was doing that.
“Plus he throws 100, so that helps, too. Little leniency as far as the command with the fastball. That also makes hitters tend to chase more pitches with the breaking ball. You kind of have to gear up for 98, 100, so you can get some funky swings on off-speed pitches.”