Tuesday, May 7

Tampa Bay Prospect Mason Montgomery Thrives With Deception and Experience

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Montgomery is the highest-ranked left-hander within the Tampa Bay Rays’ pitching pipeline. No. 7 total and with a forty five+ FV, the 2021 sixth-round pick of Texas Tech University is coming off his first full skilled season, through which he logged a 2.10 ERA with 171 strikeouts in 124 innings between High-A Bowling Green and Double-A Montgomery. Back with the Biscuits to start out the present marketing campaign, the 22-year-old Austin native has a 3.38 ERA to go together with 16 strikeouts in 13.1 innings.

Deception and journey are among the many southpaw’s attributes. As our lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen wrote earlier this yr, “His glove hand plays the role of the magician’s assistant, flying above Montgomery’s head and toward the hitter when, suddenly, the baseball appears… with a nearly perfect north/south arm slot, imparting the look of rise on his fastball.”

Montgomery mentioned his M.O. on the mound, which incorporates aggressively pumping heaters down the center, throughout spring coaching.


David Laurila: What is your method on the mound? How do you get guys out?

Mason Montgomery: “Man, I think my go-to is just my fastball. It’s kind of got that carry to it, and I usually go to it as my finishing pitch. Sometimes I’ll go slider, too. But really, I just work ahead with the heater and then if I feel like they’re on that, I’ll throw some offspeed over the plate, either my slider or my changeup. That’s my full repertoire: four-seam, slider, and changeup.”

Laurila: How many inches of journey do you get in your four-seamer?

Montgomery: “It changes. At my best, I’ll get consistently 20, maybe 22. Sometimes it will be 17 to 19. So it just depends on the day. Some days I get behind it a little better than I do on others.”

Laurila: How lengthy have you ever identified that you simply get good journey, versus simply realizing that guys aren’t squaring it up?

Montgomery: “It’s funny… you know, it probably wasn’t until my junior year of college that I realized I was getting a lot more swing-and-miss on my fastball, and that most of those swings were underneath the ball. Then once I got to the Rays is when it was like, ‘Oh, that’s why, I’m getting some carry on it.’ So probably my first year of spring training with the Rays. They were telling me, ‘Hey, you have a carry fastball, and it’s a good one. That’s going to be a good pitch for you.”

Laurila: Did you begin working up within the zone extra usually after studying that?

Montgomery: “For the most part, I just kind of try to focus on the zone, wherever it might be. But yeah, whenever I have my misses, I’d rather miss up in the zone than low in the zone.”

Laurila: Did you’ve got a lot entry to information did you’ve got in faculty?

Montgomery: “We had Rapsodo, which gets some data for sure, but I didn’t get TrackMan until I got here. And it’s crazy, because once you figure out how TrackMan works… that’s when I learned exactly what my stuff does and why it’s good, or why it might need more work.”

Laurila: Where does your velocity often sit?

Montgomery: “It depends on the outing, but I would say anywhere from 90 to 93 [mph].”

Laurila: That’s not big-time velocity, however you get good journey and have had pretty excessive strikeouts charges. Would you name your self an influence pitcher?

Montgomery: “I don’t know. It guess it depends. I wouldn’t call myself a power pitcher, but I do use my fastball a lot, so maybe?”

Laurila: Are you attempting to overlook bats and strike guys out?

Montgomery: “Not necessarily. I’m just trying to… I don’t think of it as trying to strike guys out. I think of it more as just throwing my pitches and whatever happens happens. The goal is always weak contact or swings-and-misses, either one is good, but in the moment, I’m not thinking strikeout. I’m just attacking the zone.”

Laurila: What is your greatest secondary pitch?

Montgomery: “It would probably be my slider. It plays well off my fastball. My changeup has kind of been a constant work in progress, which is why it’s my least-thrown pitch.”

Laurila: What is the motion profile in your slider?

Montgomery: “It’s more depth-y than anything. On TrackMan it looks like more of a cutter, but I call it a slider because I’m trying to get it to have that depth-y kind of movement. I’m trying to get my fingers on top of it, and ideally I’d like the ball to go almost straight down. But it’s usually, maybe, like three to seven for horizontal, and then the depth is actually above the zero mark. It’s usually zero to three. So, it’s in the top right quadrant for me as far as movement. I think my arm slot plays to that.”

Laurila: How would you describe your supply?

Montgomery: “It’s almost like kind of short-arm. I used to have a really long arm actually, that was in my freshman and sophomore years, but then it kind of naturally got shorter. It’s pretty short and quick, I think. Some people have told me that I kind of have a funky little approach angle. They’ve also told me that I kind of hide the ball well.”

Laurila: Any closing ideas on pitching?

Montgomery: “Maybe one thing. It’s pretty simple, but my approach is to just kind of throw the ball down the middle and let my stuff work. I’m not a guy who likes to try to go for corners. Like we touched on earlier, I’ll try to play it up in the zone, but pretty much from the start of the at-bat I’m throwing it down the middle. It’s all about strike-throwing. If you throw strikes, you’re going to be successful.”

Content Source: blogs.fangraphs.com