I recognize that I am double dipping by going back to Mike Montgomery, who was reason #6 in Volume 2, but he deserves some additional attention in lieu of his promotion to the Wilmington Blue Rocks today. After watching Bruce Chen and Sidney Ponson pitch yesterday, I needed to find a rotational “happy place” and Montgomery’s early returns fit the bill.
Monday, Montgomery started his last game for the Burlington Bees and threw a beautiful ballgame. He went 6.0 innings and struck out 7 while allowing only 3 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run. In 12 starts with the Bees this season he has allowed more than 1 earned run only twice. As he moves up to Wilmington he leaves behind a 2.17 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 2.17 K/BB in 58.0 innings pitched for Burlington. Opposing batters have managed to hit a paltry 0.206 against him on the season. His stellar season in low-A was following up his 2008 campaign in rookie ball with the Arizona League Royals where he posted a 1.69 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 2.83 K/BB while also holding opposing hitters to a 0.211 BA.
The Royals selected the 6’5″ LHP in the 1st round (36th overall) in the 2008 draft out of high school and he is living up to the hype. The Blue Rocks will be his 3rd team and 3rd level in the KC system in a calendar year. Michael Montgomery is moving quickly, and rightfully so. He has been missing bats, keeping runners off base, showing good control, and has a 7.69 K/9 in 100.2 minor league innings thus far.
2008 5th round pick LHP-John Lamb was even more impressive yesterday in his start for the Burlington Royals. Lamb went 7.0 innings while allowing 2 hits, 0 runs, and 1 walk while striking out 4. He now has a 3.95 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 2.78 K/BB in 27.1 IP over 6 starts this season.
The poor pitching of Sidney Ponson and Bruce Chen can’t keep my optimism down. The performance of Trey Hillman and the bullpen is an entirely different matter however. A happy place does not exist that can overcome what I’ve witnessed along those lines.