Prospect Montas wants to be more than just a flamethrower

Fastball tops out at 100 mph, but focus is on throwing strikes

Prospect Montas wants to be more than just a flamethrower

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Francelis Montas touched 98 mph with his fastball during a Cactus League start against the Rangers in Surprise on Thursday. He has been known to hit 100 mph with that same pitch.

"It's not bad being that guy," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Montas' high-octane offering. "It will help him down the road."

But Montas, who turns 22 on March 21 and sits as the No. 92 overalland the White Sox No. 3 prospect per MLB.com, wants to be more than the broadly-built hurler with the big power pitch. He wants to be able to locate consistently and fill up the strike zone.

Simply put, Montas wants to be a complete pitcher. He took strides in that direction during a Saturday side session under the guidance of White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and Double-A Birmingham pitching coach Britt Burns. Montas figures to start the season as part of the Birmingham rotation, after posting a 5-0 record, 1.44 ERA and 80 strikeouts over 81 innings in three Minor League stops last season, while battling knee problems.

Of course, Montas always has that 100 mph fastball in his back pocket. It's a dominant enough offering that some in the organization considered Montas a potential big league closer candidate during the 2015 season before David Robertson was signed.

That fastball stands as just a part of the arsenal in Montas' mind.

"Everybody says, 'Frank Montas, he's the guy who throws 100 mph,'" said Montas, who was acquired as part of the three-team deal with Detroit and Boston that brought Avisail Garcia to the White Sox at the 2013 non-waiver Trade Deadline. "But I'm not focused on throwing 100 mph. Right now, I'm just focused on throwing more strikes."

"Just the life that he has. Big strong kid. One thing you notice is he has a little extra velocity," Ventura said. "He's a guy who can get two strikes and go get that little extra. It's not a max effort every time he throws it but it's pretty impressive to watch him."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.