There has been a lot of talk surrounding the Yankees rotation recently. They revamped the rotation over the winter adding Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon behind Gerrit Cole. Jordan Montgomery has cemented himself into the three or four spot in the rotation. The fifth spot seems to be up for grabs between German and Deivi Garcia.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the rotation. Taillon has had two Tommy John surgeries, Corey Kluber has barely pitched the last couple of years, and it will interesting to see how Luis Severino performs when he comes back from his operation.
But in his first full season since the surgery, expect big things from Montgomery in 2021.
Montgomery had a strong rookie campaign in 2017 finishing sixth in Rookie of the Year voting where he posted a 3.88 ERA with a 4.07 FIP and a 1.23 WHIP. In June of 2018, Gumby needed Tommy John surgery and missed all but two games in 2019.
In 2020, he posted a 5.11 ERA along with a 3.87 FIP and a 1.30 WHIP. However, he limited his walks compared to 2017. In 29 starts in 2017, he walked 51 batters. In 10 starts in 2020, he only walked 9 batters, on pace for approximately 27 for a full season. His numbers did not look great on paper, but he had a lot of big moments that gave you hope that he will return to his 2017 self.
In-Game 4 of the ALDS, in a win or go home situation, Montgomery made his first career playoff start after not pitching in a game for 13 days. Despite only pitching 4 innings, he was everything the Yankees could have asked for. He gave up 1 run, struck out 4, and walked 3 batters.
Between his surgery and the abbreviated season in 2020, it made it tough for Montgomery to return to form. While the abbreviated season gave Montgomery extra time to rest his elbow, returning from Tommy John without that month and a half of spring training made it extra challenging. Because his offseason preparations this year have returned to somewhat normalcy, expect him to be a major contributor throughout the season.
Even though he was called up in 2017, Gumby has faced Major League hitters for only a season and a half at this point. The upcoming season will be very important for Montgomery. He has a chance to re-establish himself as the reliable arm in the rotation as he did out of the blue in 2017. If the Yankees can get 160 innings with an ERA and FIP in the 3’s out of him, that would help bolster this rotation a lot. As the only lefty in the rotation, Montgomery becomes extra valuable.
Montgomery has shown his resilience time and time again, from forcing himself into the fifth starting spot in 2017 over the more experienced Chad Green and Luis Cessa, to coming back from Tommy John and helping his team in the playoffs. He has shown why he is in the rotation, and now it’s time for him to take the next step over a full 162 game season.
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