Mike Montgomery: 3 Things You Need to Know About Tampa Bay Rays' New Prospect

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2012

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 23:  Mike Montgomery #65 of the Kansas City Royals poses for a portrait during Spring Training Media Day on February 23, 2011 at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona..  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

James Shields and Wil Myers are the headliners in the trade between the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays. Lost in all the discussion has been the other minor leaguers Kansas has parted with.

One of whom, pitcher Mike Montgomery, was regarded as one of the better prospects in all of baseball. For various reasons, his career, like that of many other Kansas City draft picks, hasn't quite worked out.

Regardless, the Tampa Bay Rays are getting a 23-year-old pitcher who still has a very high upside.

Here are three things you need to know about Montgomery.


David Riske's Career Choice Set Up Mongomery's Future

Montgomery was selected out of Hart High School in California with the 36th pick the 2008 draft. It was compensation to the Royals for the departure of reliever David Riske. Riske only spent one season with the Royals, performing very well out of the bullpen.

Kansas City earned itself a nice trade off of one good season from him in order to draft Montgomery.

Altogether, it was a good year in the draft for Kansas City. With the third overall pick, they selected third baseman Eric Hosmer. Jake Odorizzi, also moving to Tampa, was a compensation pick for the Milwaukee Brewers. He, along with others, was traded to Kansas City when Milwaukee acquired Zach Greinke.


Losing His Confidence and Slide in 2012

Montgomery has shown a lot of promise in the past, but the results haven't quite been there.

It's understandable that a player might struggle when making the jump to Triple-A. The quality is much higher than that of the level below, but Montgomery's path up to this point has been a tad worrying.

He started the 2012 season with the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers, the same team he spent all of the 2011 season with. That year, he went 5-11 with a 5.32 ERA.

However, after going 3-6 with a 5.69 ERA to start this year, he was demoted one level to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The move did nothing for his numbers, though, as Montgomery went 2-6 with a 6.67 ERA.

At this point, the Royals probably felt that they didn't have any more options left for Montgomery and a change of scenery was in line.


A Highly Regarded Pitcher, But Another in Line of Royals' Pitching Flops?

Since he entered the draft right out of high school, Montgomery had time to gain some seasoning in the minor leagues.

By 2010, he was on the radar of many across the league. In addition to being the best in the Royal's system, Baseball America rated him the 39th-best prospect in the majors prior to the season. In the subsequent years, the magazine put him at Nos. 19 and 23.

The Royals haven't had a ton of success with pitchers drafted in the first round. Luke Hochevar in 2006 and the combination of Jimmy Gobble and Mike MacDougal in 1999 are some of the biggest disappointments.

As an organization, Kansas City has drafted 16 pitchers in the first round since 1997. Of that group, only Zach Greinke has been a major contributor for the team.