Jordan Montgomery

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Jordan Blackmon Montgomery

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Jordan Montgomery was selected by the New York Yankees in the 4th round of the 2014 amateur draft out of the University of South Carolina. He had pitched in the 2012 College World Series as a freshman for USC.

Montgomery spent his first pro season in 2014 between the GCL Yankees 2 and the Staten Island Yankees, going a combined 1-1, 3.79 in 10 games. In 2015, he began the season with the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League, where he was 4-3, 3.68, then was promoted to the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League, going 6-5, 3.08 in 16 games. Combined between the two stops, he went 10-8, 2.95 in 25 games, logging 134 1/3 innings and striking out 132. He again split 2016 between two teams, this time the Trenton Thunder of the AA Eastern League and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the AAA International League. He continued to do well, with a record of 14-5, 2.13 in 25 games. He pitched 139 1/3 innings and struck out 134.

Jordan came to the Yankees' spring training in 2017 with a shot at winning a job as a starting pitcher. He helped his cause on March 17th when he pitched 4 perfect innings to complete a 3-0 win over the Detroit Tigers in a Grapefruit League game. Masahiro Tanaka had started of the game with 4 1/3 hitless innings and Chasen Shreve had completed the 5th without giving up any hits either, so his performance completed not just a win but a combined no-hitter. After that impressive spring training, he was called up to make his major league debut on April 12th after only one start for Tampa. Facing the Tampa Bay Rays, he gave up a two-run homer to Rickie Weeks in the 1st inning, but otherwise did well while pitching 4 2/3 innings before giving way to Bryan Mitchell, striking out seven. He picked up his first win in his next start, on April 17th, when he defeated the Chicago White Sox, 7-4, after taking a shutout into the 7th inning. On July 25th, he carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning in a start against the Cincinnati Reds before leaving with two outs in the 7th, having allowed only two hits. He was helped by a triple play - turned by the Reds! In the 2nd Todd Frazier hit into a triple killing, but it still resulted in a run scoring, in an extremely rare happening, giving the Yankees the lead they never relinquished. On August 6th, he was sent down to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in order to limit his innings pitched, which were starting to pile up. The Yankees had just acquired two starting pitchers at the trading deadline - Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia - and could thus afford not to have him in the starting rotation for a while. He was 7-6, 4.05 in 21 starts and 115 2/3 innings at the time, and the Yankees did not want to see him pitch more than 180 innings for the year. Those plans were quickly upended, however, when the Yankees had to place CC Sabathia on the DL on August 10th and as a result called Jordan right back to take his place in the rotation. He finished the year at 9-7, 3.88 in 29 starts, logging 155 1/3 innings. He led all American League rookies in innings pitched and strikeouts (144) and was named the left-handed pitcher on the 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. He was not used in the postseason, however, as the Yankees came within one game of reaching the World Series.

He started the 2018 season in the starting rotation, going 2-0, 3.62 over his first six starts. On May 1st, however, he exited his start against the Houston Astros after just one inning and was immediately placed on the disabled list with a forearm strain. He then experienced pain in his elbow while trying to work his way back to the mound, and on June 5th, the Yankees announced that he would need to undergo Tommy John surgery, putting him out of action until the following year. He missed most of 2019, only returning to the mound on September 15th and pitching a total of 4 innings. He was healthy in 2020, however, and on July 31st, he made his first start of the season and responded with a strong performance against the Boston Red Sox in which he gave up just 1 run in 5 1/3 innings to earn a 5-1 win. He ended up going 2-3, 5.11 in 10 games, all as a starter, pitching 44 innings. He made his first postseason appearance that season, starting Game 4 of the Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays on October 8th, after the Yankees had burned two of their starters - Deivi Garcia and J.A. Happ - in a failed plot to surprise the Rays in Game 2. With the season on the line, he made a good start, limiting the Rays to one run over four innings before the bullpen took over and kept them scoreless over the last five innings for a 5-1 win.

In 2021, he made a full 30 starts, although more often than not, he was not implicated in the final decision as he finished just 6-7 in spite of a solid 3.83 ERA (111 ERA+). He logged 157 1/3 innings and struck out 162 batters in front of a good offensive team and with a strong bullpen working behind him, so his mediocre record was just bad luck. He did not appear in the postseason as the Yankees lost the Boston Red Sox in the Wild Card Game in a game started by Gerrit Cole. In 2022, he again pitched weel over the first four months but had fewer decisions than expected, going 3-3, 3.69 in 21 starts and 114 2/3 innings. At the trading deadline, the Yankees, who were running away with the division title, acquired another starting pitcher in Frankie Montas, and dealing from a surplus made a rare trade with another contender flipping Montgomery to the St. Louis Cardinals in return for outstanding defensive center fielder Harrison Bader, who was addressing a clear need. Ironically his first start for the Cards on August 6th was against his former team, and he did very well, with 5 scoreless innings of two-hit ball as he received credit for a 1-0 win.

Montgomery does not throw particularly hard but has four solid pitches - a fastball, a slider, a curveball and a change-up. He throws all of them from an identical motion with his arm almost vertical, using his height to generate downward velocity.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • John Denton: "Remember me? Monty burns former club in Cards debut", mlb.com August 7, 2022. [1]
  • Bryan Hoch: "Unsatisfied Montgomery sets bar high for 2018: Second-year hurler led AL rookies in innings pitched, strikeouts in '17", mlb.com, February 12, 2018. [2]

Related Sites[edit]