Oh how the mighty have fallen.
One year after being named the Kansas City Royals top prospect according to Baseball America and being one of the late cuts during spring training, left-handed starter Mike Montgomery ended the 2012 season with a demotion to Double-A.
Montgomery has struggled with his delivery and command of his fastball (which leads to deep pitch counts). He has a plus changeup, but no other plus offspeed pitches. He has also given up the long ball in the last two seasons, 24 in 2012 and 15 in 2011.
After struggling in his final 22 outings in Triple-A in 2011, it was his first hiccup of his career. The Royals and scouts were not worried about long-term issues. However, the hiccup carried over for another season and his confidence has faltered. The Royals did show some confidence by putting him on the 40-man roster.
He started the 2012 season in Triple-A for a second consecutive season. He was no better than the year before. In 17 starts, he was 3-6 with a 5.69 ERA. In 91.2 innings, he allowed 110 hits and 43 walks compared to 67 strikeouts. In his demotion to NW Arkansas, he was worse. In ten starts totaling 58 innings, he allowed 69 hits and walked 21. He did strike out 44, but was just 2-6 with a 6.67 ERA. In his final two starts of the season, Montgomery allowed 13 runs over 12 innings. Though he only walked two, he allowed 16 hits and six homeruns.
MLB.com still ranks Montgomery as the Royals sixth best prospect, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star dropped him to 12th. It will be interesting to see what the Royals do with Montgomery in 2013. Maybe they will keep him in extended spring training to start the season and then decide on what level to ship him off to.