Mets Demote Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard
In case you missed it, two of the Mets most promising pitching prospects have been reassigned to minor-league camp.
Ventura — no relation to Robin Ventura — made 3 September starts last season, lighting up the radar gun with triple digits and striking out 15 batters in 15 innings. The promotion came after excelling in 11 starts at the AA level, followed by 14 impressive but not outstanding starts in AAA. He had a very strong spring, the Royals had an opening in their rotation, and they’ve decided that the future is now for the 22-year-old fireballer.
Meanwhile, in Port St. Lucie, where the Mets have at least one and possibly two open rotation spots (depending on the health of Jonathon Niese), 23-year-old Rafael Montero was sent to the minors, as was towering 21-year-old Noah Syndergaard.
I can sort of understand demoting Syndergaard. Despite his obvious raw talent, he’s only pitched 54 innings at the AA level, where he did well but fell short of completely dominating. The Mets must believe he needs more time to hone his skill set before a call-up to the bigs.
Montero, though, is something of a head-scratcher. His stuff isn’t overpowering, but he did a great job of retiring hitters at the AA and AAA levels — of particular note is the fact his success in AAA came in the hitter-happy PCL. Over the past month, he performed pretty much as advertised — pinpoint control, keeping batters off-balance, efficient use of pitches. I’ve yet to see something from Daisuke Matsuzaka or John Lannan to make me believe that either of those veterans deserve a spot over Montero. But there are other reasons for Montero’s demotion that go far beyond who is seen and/or projected as the top performer.
Also sent to the minors in this round of cuts were Joel Carreno, Cory Mazzoni, Brandon Allen, Matt Clark, Juan Centeno, Ryan Reid, and Miguel Socolovich. Of that group, only Mazzoni impressed me. In fact, he showed quite a bit — to me, anyway — to suggest he deserved a longer look for a spot in the bullpen. But, the Mets would rather give Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde — among others — a better shot.
What’s your thought? Are you happy to see Montero and Syndergaard go down to the minors for more seasoning? Would you have preferred to see either or both of them for another week or so before making a decision? What’s your reaction to the news of Ventura? Does it relate / compare / contrast to the situation in Port St. Lucie? Answer in the comments.