Jordan Montgomery has quietly but efficiently put together a solid year for the Yankees. He just rolls along as the team’s best-kept secret.
Jordan Montgomery made his first appearance for the Yankees during Spring Training in 2017.
As a 4th-round pick by the Yankees from the University of South Carolina in 2014, Montgomery was not listed among the team’s 2014 Top 20 Prospects.
Getting Noticed Was All It Took
So, on that day, early in Spring Training, when the veterans are going through their paces to prep for an appearance, managers take the opportunity to look at some no-names.
Then Yankees manager Joe Girardi was more than impressed by Jordan Montgomery’s poise and presence on the mound that day, and he kept handing the ball to Montgomery throughout the spring, getting the same good results.
Whether cleared by the front office or not, Girardi took it upon himself to slot Montgomery into the fifth spot in the Yankee’s rotation by mid-May.
Jordan Montgomery went on to reward Girardi for his vote of confidence, finishing 6th in the Rookie of the Year voting while tossing 155 innings over 29 starts and compiling a record of 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA.
Jordan Montgomery Takes A Step Back
Those innings, however, proved to be a bit much for the rookie, and Montgomery underwent Tommy John surgery that was complicated by a shoulder injury during his rehab in 2019 while managing only 31 innings during the 2018-19 seasons.
Last year’s COVID impacted short season yielded an unimpressive 2-3, 5.88 ERA over ten starts, but it was felt that it was a jump start to this season as Montgomery emerged fully healthy.
His poise and presence on the mound have stayed with him, and ironically Montgomery often pitches his best when failing.
Montgomery surrenders an average of one hit per inning pitched, but “average” means there are other innings when he gives up two or more hits, leaving himself in a forced jam and needing to get outs.
Yankee’s current manager Aaron Boone has learned not to panic in these situations, letting Montgomery wiggle himself out of trouble, a characteristic that has become his trademark.
The ability to get outs when he needs them most is illustrated by the fact that over 28 starts this season, Jordan Montgomery has surrendered three or fewer runs 22 times, and in thirteen of his starts, he has given up one or no runs.
Montgomery: Worthy Of Consideration For An Extension
Montgomery will never be the ace of the Yankee’s staff, nor will he win a Cy Young or earn votes in the Hall of Fame voting after his career is over.
Instead, however, Jordan Montgomery has established himself and an essential piece of the Yankee’s rotation, locked in at the number three slot.
If there’s a knock on Montgomery, it’s that he’s averaging only 5.17 innings per start. But as Yankees fans know, that is probably more by the team’s design on a staff where Boone relies heavily on his bullpen than Montgomery himself.
Montgomery will pitch the 2022 season at age 29, and although he will be launching into his sixth season for the Yankees, MLB rules have him with two arbitration years before he reaches free-agent status in 2024.
Over the years, Jordan Montgomery hasn’t come close to breaking the Yankee’s bank, and his salary for this year is a modest $2.1 million.
That will change over the next two seasons, and a raise of $5 million should be a starting point for the Yankees in 2022.
On the surface, it appears the Yankees will be wise to lock Montgomery up with a contract extension before 2024.
But the team’s experience from 2019, when the Yankees and Luis Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract extension with a club option for 2023 that, if exercised, will make it worth $52.5 million, may give the Yankee’s pause.
As Yankees fans know, Severino has been injury-prone since then and has only recently worked his way through rehab to toss a couple of innings in relief two nights ago.
Once bitten twice shy could be the applicable adage, but Jordan Montgomery has already been through Tommy John once.
Once Bitten Twice Shy? – Not Necessarily
According to an article appearing in Beyondtheboxscore.com, one-third of all major league pitchers had the surgery at the time of Dr. Frank Jobe’s death in 2014.
Overall, a study by @MLBPplayerAnalysis found a total of 502 MLB players have had TJ surgery since 1974.
Of those, however, only 43 pitchers have come back with a need for a second surgery.
In the case of Jordan Montgomery and considering his contribution to the team, one more time with an extension would seem apropos for the Yankees…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Teddy Paulmeno He has been unlucky at times with a low run support
Mark A. Johnson I do wish he would speed up a bit, but he has been very consistent and a pleasant surprise!
Susan Abbott Yes he is our quiet little workhorse who sadly never gets run support. Hang in there Monty! We appreciate you!!!
Steven Kenworthy He has been the underrated “reliable” number two guy for most of the season.
Brian Bartron Absolutely no run support for Monty!! He should have the same record close to Cole, all of his stats are close to his!
Michael Buck He is solid and underrated. If the team could score a few runs for him he’d be a 15/16 game-winner.