Fantasy Breakout: Frankie Montas solidifies rotation spot
Four-fifths of the Oakland Athletics rotation has been confirmed after manager Bob Melvin announced right-hander Frankie Montas will be the team’s fourth starter to start the season.
Montas, 26, has had up-and-down success throughout his big league career–the difference this season that will make fantasy owners take notice–the splitter he added this spring is what I call “baby filth”. He hasn’t completely mastered it yet, but it is filthy and that has allowed his to dominate this spring.
“I really tried to focus on it in spring training,” Montas said. “I feel like I’m able to throw it whatever the count. Honestly, when I started throwing it, it was to get people off my fastball. When hitters have to worry about three pitches, not just two, it makes it worse for them and better for me. Now it’s three pitches. It makes it tougher.”
He went 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in five games with 16 strikeouts and five walks over 16 innings.
“Deservedly so,” Melvin said. “He’s had a terrific spring, pitched well whether he was starting a game, whether he was piggy-backing with somebody, and continued pitching the same the entire spring — with some pressure on him knowing that he had to win a job. Proud of him. He deserves to be in the rotation.”
“What’s made him kind of who he is now is adding the split-finger and being a true three-pitch-mix guy now with his slider, and having command of all those pitches,” Melvin said. “He’s a little bit of a different guy than we’ve seen the last couple years.”
Montas’ emergence this spring has been huge for the A’s rotation, which has been beset by injuries for a second straight year. Top prospect Jesus Luzardo, who had a 0.93 ERA in four games this spring, has been shut down for at least a month due to a left shoulder injury.
Oakland can field a rotation of potential All-Stars with their pitchers that will start the season on the IL. Others include: Sean Manaea, A.J. Puk and Jharel Cotton.
I scanned the waiver in every redraft (and one keeper) league I am in and Montas is currently available in all of them. He went 5-4 with a 3.88 ERA in 11 starts for Oakland in 2018 after pitching 23 games in relief the previous season. So to assume he will improve upon those numbers is somewhat expected. He’s not going to compete for a Cy Young, but in deeper formats 12+ members, I think you’ll want to scoop him up before Opening Day.