Jordan Montgomery seemed due for a breakout campaign, with a 3.65 xFIP and 3.84 SIERA in 2020 despite a high ERA. He had generated more strikeouts than usual and limited the walks, with the only knock being the home run ball. He seemed to always just have that one inning that spoiled his starts. Across the board statistically, it seems that Jordan Montgomery is blossoming. He’s no ace, but he’s finally that No. 3 starter that we always envisioned he could be.
Montgomery has an ability to mix things up in his pitch mix at random and that’s what makes him so special. His 4-seam usage by start has varied from 4.5% against Cleveland to 27.1% against Tampa in his most recent start. Monty’s most consistently great pitch is that curveball, sporting a 38.7% whiff% and a mere .160 xwOBA against it. His curveball is graded as the eighth-best in baseball according to Statcast’s Run-Value metric, the seventeenth best xwOBA against it, and the seventeenth best Hard Hit% against it. This is simply a stupendous curveball, and it’s one that has shaped him into a much better pitcher. It’s helped the ERA match the peripherals, which if he holds up could make him a 3.80-3.90 ERA starter.
Jordan Montgomery is a Bulldog On the Mound
Gumby’s ability to just fight through starts is incredible. He can go deep into games rather reliably, going at least five innings in every start except Cleveland, a game in which he was shelled in the first. In his second start of the year, he had no business in that game and yet he still went five innings. In his third start, it’s the same story, and against the Houston Astros, he battled through six innings despite some rocky innings to save the bullpen. He gets the label of being a gamer, and someone who will grind through starts. He’s a reliable arm and while he’s not elite, he’s certainly very effective.
In 2020, Montgomery was impressive in his peripheral metrics:
Yet in that season, he boasted a poor 5.11 ERA, something that began to translate to results this year. While a 3.96 ERA is sparkling, it’s certainly a massive leap. He’s also cut down his SIERA to a 3.72 this year, with his xFIP and K-BB% being around the same. There’s some room to believe Montgomery could potentially have more room to grow. We saw against the Tampa Bay Rays that Gumby was able to generate more swings and misses, and maybe that carries over in his next start. It’ll be interesting to continue to watch him pitch, and I think things are trending up. If he can put together another good start, his ERA will drop more and it’ll start to really get interesting.
Baltimore should be an easier foe, so hopefully, he can continue to blossom.