Legends On Deck

Can Rafael Montero Make the Mets Roster This Season?

PHOTO CREDIT: Howard Simmons / New York Daily News

PHOTO CREDIT: Howard Simmons / New York Daily News

I apologize for the absolute lack of writing on Legends on Deck this offseason.

I truly have had baseball burnout from the Mets heartbreaking loss of the 2015 World Series. This might have been the most invested I’ve ever been for a baseball season. The way everything fell for this club in 2015 made me laugh, frustrated, angry, glum, exuberant, and even shed a tear. The hangover lasted a full winter.

Now, with Spring Training on the horizon, and WOR 710 playing its first Mets game with the Mets against those dastardly Washington Nationals, I am full borne in my passion with the Blue and Orange Brigade once again. And almost immediately, I am contemplating the possible situation regarding one particular player for the 2016 Mets.

Will Rafael Montero make the big league club?

This truly is a make-or-break time for the 25 year old out of the Dominican Republic. After a few spot starts in 2014 and the early stages of 2015, Montero went down with severe rotator cuff swelling on April 29, 2015 and did not pitch for the rest of the year. In five games, one start included, Montero went 0-1 with 4.50 ERA in 5 games.

There has always been potential with Montero. His control is spot on. He possesses a fantastic change-up and a beautiful fastball. His minor league career has been fantastic. Before Noah Syndergaard exploded on the scene last year, many baseball guys had Montero a shade higher than Thor on the potential list.

However, with the shoulder setback last year, Montero has a lot to prove to get the final spot on the Mets bullpen. The starting rotation is obviously loaded with Matt Harvey, the aforementioned Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and the wily veteran Bartolo Colon. The bullpen has gotten significantly lighter over the past year with the three suspensions and ultimate banning from baseball of perennial PED user Jennry Mejia. Montero could possibly be that final guy to help bridge the game to Jeurys Familia in the ninth inning.

After listening to the first Spring Training game of the year on WOR 710 in New York, Montero did not perform well. Getting the start, Montero was ROCKED, giving up four runs on four hits and giving up two walks on 42 pitches. The only bright spot was a strikeout of Danny Espinosa. He only got one inning of work in.

Granted, it is better to happen on March 3 instead of April 3, but this gets me nervous. Rafael Montero is a serious key to the Mets bullpen this year. He has the potential to be a great set-up man, but if today’s first game is of any indication, it might be a bit of a struggle for Montero to survive on the major league level.

I truly hope Montero regains his form and overcomes to the struggles and injury bug of the 2015 campaign. #50 could become a #1 cog in the bullpen; the Mets will surely need it.

Jon Harder

Editor at Legends On Deck
Jon was born in Queens and now resides in New Jersey. He is a die-hard Mets fan and believes HoJo should be in the Mets Hall of Fame. Not only is Jon a contributing writer on Legends On Deck, but he also is the founder of @HardwayHQ, host of the #TheHardwayPodcast and somewhat plays Air Hockey on http://HardwayHQ.com. You can follow Jon on Twitter @TheJonHarder