LHP-Danny Duffy might be getting most of the attention, but the Royals have another stud lefty pitching prospect on the way.
20 year old Michael Montgomery joined Duffy in the Wilmington Blue Rocks rotation after carving up the Midwest League as a member of the Burlington Bees. The Royals selected Monty 36th overall out of HS in the 2008 draft, and so far the returns have been off the chart. Last year he began his professional career with the Arizona League Royals and put up a 1.69 ERA, 1.008 WHIP, and 2.83 SO/BB in 42.2 innings pitched. The Royals bumped him up to low-A to start the 2009 season where he threw 58.0 innings pitched with a 2.17 ERA, 1.138 ERA, and 2.17 SO/BB.
Montgomery has continued his dominance since moving up to high-A Wilmington on July 22nd. To date he has made 8 starts for the Blue Rocks with a 2.35 ERA, 0.978 WHIP, and 3.64 SO/BB. On Monday night, he had his best start as a Blue Rock allowing 1 hit and no walks while striking out 12 in 6.2 innings pitched. He hasn’t allowed more than 3 earned runs in any of his outings in the Carolina League and has made 4 straight quality starts. In those last 4 he has thrown 24.2 innings while giving up only 19 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 walks, and 21 strikeouts.
Despite playing against more advanced competition, Monty has dropped his WHIP and BB/9 while maintaining his already excellent H/9 and solid SO/9. Thanks to the drop in his BB/9 from 3.7 to 2.2, his SO/BB jumped up 1.47 between low-A and high-A this season. Putting up more impressive numbers against better competition is definitely going to move him up the charts in the prospect rankings. Entering the season, Monty was 4th on Baseball America’s list behind Moustakas, Hosmer, and Cortes. If you are wondering, RHP-Tim Melville, Duffy, and RHP-Danny Gutierrez were 5th, 6th, and 7th respectively. All three of those guys are having solid to excellent seasons in 2009, but it is Mike Mongtomery who will probably open the 2010 season as my pick for the Royals top prospect. Both Duffy and Monty figure to open the 2010 season with the NW Arkansas Naturals in Double-A and that is a very good thing for the Royals organization.