In an attempt to bolster the starting rotation, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman acquired Frankie Montas from the Oakland Athletics at the trade deadline this past season.
Montas was dominant during the first portion of the year with Oakland, earning a 3.18 ERA, 3.20 xFIP, and 9.37 strikeouts per nine over 104.2 innings. However, his numbers for the Yankees disappointed, especially since he was forced to miss the entire postseason due to a shoulder injury.
Over 39.2 innings wearing pinstripes, Montas recorded a 6.35 ERA, 7.49 strikeouts per nine, a 66% left-on-base rate, and a 44.5% ground ball rate. Overall, his numbers were so vastly different that many are down on the 29-year-old starter, despite years of efficient play.
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The Yankees are relying on Frankie Montas to step up:
Montas is currently the No. 4 pitcher in the rotation behind Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortés, and Luis Severino. The Yankees are currently in the mix for Carlos Rodon, which would push Montas all the way to the No. 5 slot, which was most recently housed by Jameson Taillon this past season. He might be the best 5th option in baseball, which is an exciting reality for the Yankees if they’re willing to splash an extra $30 million per season on Rodon.
With that being said, the negativity surrounding Montas makes him a prime sleeper to become a secret weapon for the Yankees, especially during the playoffs when they can utilize him as a bullpen arm to help get through high-pressure moments and eat innings in specific scenarios.
Montas utilizes an interesting combination of pitches, specifically a splitter, 4-seam fastball, slider, cutter, and sinker. He has one of the best splitters in the game and generates 106% more horizontal movement with his cutter than the average pitcher.
With one year left of control over Montas, the Yankees are expecting him to bounce back and serve a significant purpose in the rotation. Being an underdog is exactly where he wants to be, considering many have little confidence in his abilities, and he has an opportunity to prove them wrong.