In a move that is mildly surprising but not really shocking, the Royals demoted Mike Montgomery to Double A Northwest Arkansas Wednesday morning and promoted Chris Dwyer from the Naturals to Omaha, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
Both left-handed pitchers have notably struggled in the last two seasons after success up to the A-ball level.
Dwyer’s been stuck in Double A since 2010, making four starts there that season, playing all of 2011 there and only recently showing any signs of consistent command. Montgomery looked good enough to make the big league club in 2011 during spring training but was sent down anyway and hasn’t been the same since the middle of 2010 when he had some arm issues that nagged him.
Dwyer has had a number of strong outings this year for the Naturals and it felt like the 24-year-old was close to at least getting bumped up from Double A for once. He threw the first seven innings of a Naturals no-hitter in May and over his last six starts, he’s thrown 31 innings with a 3.48 ERA and a 25/9 K/BB ratio.
Montgomery had two absolute bombs in his last three starts, giving up 11 runs in 1.1 innings (even though only 4 were earned) and 8 runs in his next start July 3. He had a 24/9 K/BB ratio in his last 24.1 innings, but also gave up 40 base hits in that time. There have been suggestions that his velocity may be down, too.
Ideally, this works as a wakeup call for Montgomery and he gets back to the guy who rocketed through the low levels getting everybody out. He’s competitive and maybe he’ll be pushed by this move. Aaron Crow was demoted as a starter in 2010 from Double A to High A and came back the next spring and earned a spot in the bullpen, eventually being named an All-Star.
Or, maybe Montgomery keeps languishing. He really hasn’t been sharp for a while now and while he’s just 23 years old, poor results are still poor results. He still has the stuff to be a strong starter, but the likelihood he can reach that potential is shrinking.