The Boston Red Sox signed Montas in 2009 as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic. He was traded to the White Sox in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal to Boston, Jose Iglesias to Detroit and Avisail Garcia, Cieulius Rondon and Jeffery Wendelken to Chicago.
I scouted Montas at the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the 2014 Arizona Fall League and at White Sox Spring Training camp in Glendale, Ariz.
Still only 22, Montas has completed parts of six seasons pitching in the Minor League systems for the Red Sox and White Sox. After compiling 381 1/3 innings, he was promoted to the White Sox big league club as a September roster addition. Montas made his big league debut on Sept. 2 with a perfect inning in relief against the Minnesota Twins.
Montas' primary offering is his high-velocity fastball. He can touch 100 mph with the pitch, but he normally sits between 95 and 97 mph. The key to that pitch is the late movement. Montas' prominent secondary pitch is a very credible slider that he spots well in pitching sequences. He also throws a changeup, but he doesn't rely as much on that pitch, and it is best described as a pitch in progress. It is safe to say that his fastball is the most developed and refined of his three pitches. It is the pitch Montas throws with the greatest frequency.
As his Minor League strikeout rate of 9.2 batters per nine innings would predict, Montas can get plenty of swings and misses with his fastball/slider combination. However, he has also walked an average of 3.8 batters per nine innings.
Montas can overpower a hitter with his blazing fastball. When he began his career with the Red Sox in the Dominican Summer League, Montas was an extremely wild and raw 17-year-old. Now, the White Sox coaching staff has worked to develop him from a thrower to a pitcher.
Montas gets a great deal of his pitching strength and power from his strong lower half. His legs do much of the work on the mound, which is critically important.
Montas' ability to throw strikes more consistently is improving, and his stock is rising as a result.
While he has grown tremendously as a pitcher, Montas still has moments when he loses his release point, tries to throw too hard and his mechanics get lost. The net result is poor control and periods of wildness. Those times are fewer and fewer with maturity and experience.
Meniscus injuries to both knees cost Montas development time in the 2014 season. As a result, he threw only 81 innings before recovering some lost innings in the Arizona Fall League.
When I saw Montas in the Fall League, he could dominate hitters and then quickly lose his command. However, Montas recovered just as quickly, and could navigate through the league's best hitters with little difficulty. He threw 23 innings last autumn, and some were good and some fairly wild.
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The debate about the ideal role for Montas has generated differences of opinions from scouts. Some say he is best suited as a back-end-of-the-bullpen pitcher because of his high-velocity fastball and his wipe-out slider. Others feel he is best suited as a starter.
The future for Montas
The White Sox started Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon in the bullpen. Now they are prominent starters and the anchors of their rotation. I sense a similar path for Montas. If his command and control continue to develop, he will likely win a job in the 2016 rotation.
Montas in a word