Mike Montgomery

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Michael Paul Montgomery

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Biographical Information[edit]

Mike Montgomery was a supplemental first-round draft pick in the 2008 amateur draft.

Montgomery was picked by the Kansas City Royals with the 36th pick of the 2008 draft; he was their second selection after Eric Hosmer. The pick was compensation for the loss of David Riske to free agency. Mike signed by scout Dan Ontiveros for a $988,000 bonus. In his pro debut, he had a 2-1, 1.69 record for the AZL Royals. Had he qualified, he would have been third in the Arizona League in ERA. Baseball America listed him as the league's #1 prospect, ahead of Jaff Decker, a fellow first-rounder.

In 2009, Mike pitched very well for both the Burlington Bees (2-3, 2.17, .206 opponent average) and Wilmington Blue Rocks (4-1, 2.25, .196 opponent average). Baseball America listed him as the #5 Midwest League prospect (behind Aaron Hicks, Dee Gordon, Josh Vitters and Brett Lawrie) and #7 in the Carolina League (just ahead of a teammate with the same first name and last initial, Mike Moustakas). Baseball America also rated the lefty as the top Royals prospect entering 2010, ahead of top-five selections Moustakas and Hosmer most notably.

Montgomery battled injury in 2010, pitching for the AZL Royals (0-1, 1.04), Wilmington (2-0, 1.09) and Northwest Arkansas Naturals (5-4, 3.47). Baseball America named him as the #3 prospect in the Texas League behind teammates Moustakas and Hosmer, and as the 19th-best prospect in all of baseball. He was then put on the USA's roster for the 2010 Pan American Games Qualification Tournament. He went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 10 innings. He tied Jesus Yepez for 4th in the tourney in whiffs, 3 behind Yulieski Gonzalez, and tied Todd Redmond, Nick Hill and Julio Rodriguez for the tournament's best record. He was named to the All-Star team as the top left-hander, joining Cuban righty Norge Vera as the pitchers. The other US All-Stars were fellow KC farmhands Hosmer and Moustakas as well as a third Mike, Mike Trout.

In 2011, Mike struggled at 5-11, 5.32 for the Omaha Royals. He tied for fourth in the 2011 PCL in losses, was third in wild pitches (14, behind Matt Palmer and Sam Deduno) and tied Chris Seddon for 5th with 69 walks. Baseball America still listed him as the 7th-best PCL prospect (between Dee Gordon and Brett Jackson) and ahead of any other pitcher. They also put him as the #23 prospect in baseball entering 2012 (one slot ahead of Bubba Starling as the top Royals prospect). 2012 bought more bad returns, though: a 3-6 record, with an ERA of 5.69 for Omaha and 2-6, 6.67 for Northwest Arkansas. He led Royals minor leaguers with 24 homers allowed and only Noel Arguelles lost more games.

On December 9, 2012, the Royals dealt him along with prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi and minor leaguer Patrick Leonard to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis. He spent two seasons in the Rays' organization, going 7-9, 4.83 mainly with the AAA Durham Bulls in 2013, and 10-5, 4.29 in a full season with Durham in 2014. He was used almost exclusively as a starter those two years. On March 31, 2015, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners in return for major league pitcher Erasmo Ramirez. He was assigned to the Tacoma Rainiers to start the year and had a 4-3 record with a 3.54 ERA over 53 innings after 9 starts when he was called up to make his big league debut on June 3rd, taking the place of an injured James Paxton. Facing the New York Yankees, he gave up only one run on 4 hits in 6 innings, but ended up with a no-decision as the Yankees eventually won the game, 5-3, in 11 innings. He was only the second pitcher in Mariners history to pitch at least 6 innings while giving up one run or fewer in his debut, after Blake Beavan had given up one run in 7 innings in his 2011 debut. His first major league decision was a loss on June 7th, even though he pitched well again; he gave up 2 runs in 7 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays but was charged with a 3-1 loss. He finally got some help from his hitters on June 13th when he recorded his first win over the Houston Astros, 6-3, thanks to a pair of homers by Logan Morrison. On June 23rd, he victimized one of his former teams, the Kansas City Royals, with a four-hit shutout in a 7-0 win, retiring 17 straight batters at one point. He was even better in his following start, on June 30th against the San Diego Padres when he pitched a second straight shutout, a one-hitter this time. The only safety was a double by Yangervis Solarte with one out in the 7th inning. The feat reminded observers of Mark Langston who had also thrown consecutive shutouts as a rookie for the Mariners back in 1984. He ended up making 16 starts for the Mariners, with a record 4-6, 4.60; he pitched 90 innings and recorded 64 strikeouts. The two shutouts gave him a share of the American League lead for the season.

In 2016, he spent the first three and a half months of the season pitching mainly out of the bullpen for Seattle, as of his 32 appearances, only 2 were as a starter. He went 3-4 with a 2.34 ERA in 61 2/3 innings. On July 20th, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs along with Jordan Pries in return for prospects Paul Blackburn and Dan Vogelbach. He made 17 appearances with the Cubs, including 5 starts, going 1-1, 2.82 and pitching 38 1/3 innings. In the postseason, he became one of manager Joe Maddon's trusted pitchers out of the bullpen, making 11 appearances in the Cubs' run to a first World Series title since 1908. He went 1-1, 3.14 with one save, that one coming in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series, when he relieved Carl Edwards with two outs to clinch the historic title against the Cleveland Indians.

On April 2, 2017, he became the first pitcher in major league history to issue a no-pitch intentional walk, when he walked Yadier Molina in the 9th inning on a simple sign from the dugout by manager Joe Maddon. The strategy did not really work, as the Cardinals scored the winning run a couple of batters later. While he had saved the crucial Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, Montgomery did not have a regular season save until May 25th when he pitched four innings of one-hit ball in relief of Eddie Butler in a 5-1 win over the San Francisco Giants. He was used in all sorts of different roles that year, including as a spot starter. On September 19th, in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, he did not give up a hit until the 6th inning, a one-out homer by Brad Miller in getting credit for a 2-1 win; it was Tampa Bay's only hit of the game, as three relievers followed him with a perfect inning each. he finished the season at 7-8, 3.38 in 44 games, including 14 starts. He recorded 3 saves, pitched 130 2/3 innings and struck out 100 batters as one of the most valuable members of Joe Maddon's pitching staff. In the postseason, he did not do so well, as he gave up a total of 9 runs in just 4 1/3 innings spread over 5 appearances in two rounds. He did not have a decision.

In 2018, he was again used as a swingman. He spent the first two months of the year in the bullpen, before getting his first start on May 28th. He defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-0 that day, pitching 5 2/3 innings and then took a regular turn as a starter the rest of the season, except for just one outing in relief. He went 5-6, 3.99 in 38 games, including 19 starts, and logged 124 innings while striking out 86 batters. Once again, his ability to assume different roles made him a more valuable pitcher than his stats would indicate by themselves. He was not used in the postseason as the Cubs made an early exit, being defeated by the Colorado Rockies in the Wild Card Game. He was back in the bullpen full time in 2019, but started off on a terrible note as he gave 6 runs in 2 2/3 innings over his first 4 outings, then was placed on the injured list with a lat strain, with his ERA at 16.88. he did better in May after his return, going 1-1, 2.38 in 7 games, but was again hit hard in June. On July 15th, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals, his original organization, in return for C Martin Maldonado as the Cubs had an immediate need for a backstop with Willson Contreras having just been placed on the injured list. He was 1-2, 5.67 in 20 games at the time of the trade.

Pitching in the Korea Baseball Organization with the Samsung Lions in 2021, he made the news for a temper tantrum. On September 10th, he was warned by the home plate umpire about obeying the pitch clock that forces pitchers in that league to deliver the ball within 12 seconds with no one on base. When he exceeded the limit again, he was ejected, after which he charged the umpire, and when restrained by his teammates, threw the rosin bag at him, hitting him in the back. He then completed the work by ripping off his jersey and throwing it on the field. He was likely to be suspended for the remainder of the season for his antics.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jay Cohen (Associated Perss): "Versatile Montgomery filling valuable role", USA Today Sports, June 8, 2017. [1]
  • Carrie Muskat: "Montgomery preparing for starting rotation: After thriving in swing role last year, lefty wants ball every 5th day", mlb.com, February 8, 2018. [2]

Related Sites[edit]