Zoning in on Mike Montgomery

ZoningIn31_Montgomery

Zoning in on the 2016 Mariners is a series in which we examine every player on the 2016 Mariners. We explain their role on the field, what they’re like off of it and provide highlights and photos.

Last year, Mike Montgomery made his mark by working deep into games—throwing back-to-back complete game shutouts in his first few starts. This year, he broke camp with the Mariners in quite a different role, as one of two left-handers coming out of the bullpen.

“The velocity was 92-94 mph,” Servais said after Mike Montgomery’s first relief outing this spring. “There’s down angle to it. I think [it helps to have] the presence of coming in, ‘Here it is, go after it.’ Just let it eat and really attack vs. as a starter, where you are pacing yourself and making sure you get all your pitches in there. Just getting after it. I liked his demeanor. He was very aggressive.”

It’s pretty well-known that starters’ stuff tends to play up in a bullpen role. It looks like we may be seeing just that with Montgomery as there’s a noticeable jump in velocity on the fastball. Here in Spring Training, he’s averaging almost 95mph on the fastball. Last year, that sat around 91.

“I see a lot of guys around the league—and with the Royals especially—doing stuff like this all the time,” Montgomery said of the transition, in speaking with Greg Johns of Mariners.com. “I think if I just focus on pitching, whether it’s starting or relieving, there are ways to get guys out and I think I can do both. It’s just about getting guys out. Whatever way you can do it, you just need to get guys out.”

But with Montgomery, the Mariners do have a pitcher in the bullpen who can potentially start. Or, if needed, go a little longer in those relief outings. Going back to those shutouts though, those were something special.

In throwing back-to-back complete game shutouts, he became the fourth pitcher over the last 40 years to record at pair of shutouts within the first six starts of a career. His shutout against the Royals marked only second time a rookie threw a shutout against a team that went to the World Series while striking out 10 and not walking a batter.

Off the Field

Mike Montgomery graduated from William S. Hart High School  in Santa Clarita, CA. It has quite the recent history for pitching talent, as fellow Major Leaguers James Shields and Trevor Bauer both graduated from there.

Montgomery also played a bit of basketball in high school, and recently was eager to show he could still throw it down.

Highlights

 

 

 

Photos

More in the Zoning In on the 2016 Mariners Series:

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