JOAN MONTERO
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
  Born: October 26, 1988
Height: 6′ 0″
Weight: 186
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int. FA, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2009
How Acquired: Int. FA
Country: Dominican Republic
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

The Pirates signed Montero at a relatively late age (a little short of 21) for a Dominican prospect, then brought him to the GCL after only a cameo in the DSL.  I don’t know whether the quick promotion indicates that the Pirates consider him a prospect or simply reflects a view that 21-year-olds shouldn’t generally be in the DSL.  The Pirates’ Director of Latin American Scouting, Rene Gayo, puts a lot of effort into digging up “older” prospects who’ve been overlooked, with Diego Moreno being an example, so Montero could be a prospect.  He definitely throws hard; I saw him sitting at 93-95 in training camp in both 2011 and 2012.  He also throws a slider.  Moving players like him up to the GCL quickly certainly beats loading the DSL roster with overage players, as the previous regime did.

2009
DSL:  0-1-0, 6.75 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 1.1 IP, 20.2 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

Pitched briefly after signing.

2010
R:  1-3-3, 3.13 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 37.1 IP, 7.5 BB/9, 8.7 K/9

Did very well in relief in the GCL, except for substantial control problems.  Those improved slowly over the season and he had his best month in August, allowing eight hits and nine walks in fourteen innings, while fanning fourteen.  He finished with a .206 opponents’ average.

2011
A-:  0-1-1, 8.06 ERA, 2.34 WHIP, 25.2 IP, 7.4 BB/9, 7.4 K/9

Had considerably more trouble at State College.  He walked the same number he fanned and opponents hit .345 against him.  He didn’t show any improvement over the course of the season.  In fact, he walked the same number that he struck out in all three months.

2012
A-:  2-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 8.1 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 14.0 K/9
A:  3-0-1, 8.44 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32.0 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 5.6 K/9
A+:  0-0-0, 13.50 ERA, 2.75 WHIP, 4.0 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

The Pirates assigned Montero to Bradenton briefly in April and he pitched very badly in two games.  He then got into five games for West Virginia and gave up 15 earned runs in just seven innings.  He moved to State College when the Spikes’ season opened and dominated through four relief appearances.  The Pirates sent him back to West Virginia for July and August and he pitched much better than in his first stint therealthough he still pitched poorly, with an ERA of 5.40.  Still, it was progress over 2011 and he managed to fan more than twice as many as he walked.

2013
A+:  4-6-2, 3.03 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 68.1 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 6.5 K/9

Montero spent the season at Bradenton and pitched decently, although his peripheral numbers weren’t as good as his ERA.  He walked too many and didn’t miss a lot of bats.  He had trouble with left-handed hitters.  They hit .290 against him, compared to .230 by right-handed hitters, and he walked one more than he struck out against lefties.  Late in the season, the Pirates gave Montero three starts.  One was interrupted by rain, but he threw five shutout innings in each of the other two.

2014
A+:  2-0-1, 5.79 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 18.2 IP, 5.3 BB/9, 5.3 K/9
AA:  3-4-0, 6.02 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, 61.1 IP, 5.4 BB/9, 4.5 K/9

The Pirates moved Montero up to Altoona, where he pitched in relief through mid-June.  He didn’t pitch well, but in mid-June, when they needed a starter, the team moved him to the Altoona rotation for seven starts.  That experiment didn’t go well at all, as Montero had a 7.53 ERA and 2.13 WHIP as a starter.  Overall, AA hitters hammered Montero for a .326 average and walked more than they struck out.  In late July, the Pirates sent Montero down to Bradenton, where he pitched in relief.  He didn’t do much better there.

The Pirates’ current management has made a practice of signing, both in the draft and on the international front, pitchers with live arms who lack pitching skill, with the obvious idea of trying to teach them to pitch.  Naturally, most of these guys are going to flame out pretty quickly.  This approach is easily preferable to the approach of the previous front office, which looked for pitchers with low ceilings who were likely to be able to advance at least to the middle levels.  Montero is clearly a product of the new approach.  He’s made some progress, but 2014 was a significant step backward.  He has one more year before minor league free agency.  The Pirates may try him again at Altoona, probably not as a starter.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2015: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $70,000
MiLB Debut: 2009
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
2009: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent with a $70,000 bonus.