Frankie Montas Buy or Sell in Fantasy Baseball?
Frankie Montas has put together an amazing start to his 2018 season and the fantasy baseball world is beginning to wonder–is this for real? Or will he begin to come back down to earth?
If you haven’t followed Montas’ career, he was one of the pieces heading to Oakland in the Rich Hill-Josh Reddick deal in 2016 with the LA Dodgers.
Being shuffled from the A’s Triple-A squad in Nashville to the big league club last season, Montas was used as a reliever in the majors and a starter in the minors. Success was not prevalent as he owned an enormous 7.03 ERA in 32 innings with the Athletics. He wasn’t much better in the minors, pitching 29.1 innings with a 5.22 ERA.
In order to succeed, Montas relies on location and precise pitching rather than overpowering hitters, although he can–hitting the mid 90’s on his fastball. He isn’t a strikeout guy, owning a career 9.6 K/9.
Enter 2018. Montas is pitching better with the Nashville club, but still owned a 1-5 record with a 4.39 ERA and his K/9 has dropped to 7.6.
With all the injuries to the Athletics pitching staff, Montas earned a call-up to the big league club and that is where things changed…
His first start came on May 27th against the Diamondbacks. He retired his first 10 batters, took a no-hitter into the sixth and matched his career high with seven strikeouts. The A’s won 2-1, earning Montas his first big league victory as a starter.
In his second start, Montas was even more dominant, working eight scoreless innings in Oakland’s 16-0 rout of the Royals. His longest scoreless outing previously: seven scoreless with Double-A Birmingham on June 9, 2015.
So what has changed?
Athletics catcher Jonathan Lucroy talked about Montas after his latest performance:
“He had 97 in the back pocket, and it’s sinking everywhere. He doesn’t locate perfectly, and it works for him. He’s effectively wild within the strike zone and as a hitter, it’s tough facing guys like that because you don’t know what to expect, really.”
The two-seamer, a sinker that registers 93-96 mph, plays off Montas’ harder four-seamer, and it helped him get three double-play balls. “I love it,” Lucroy said. “What I like the most is he’s very comfortable throwing it glove side, away from righties and in to a lefty. Being able to control that pitch with that kind of velocity and that kind of movement is hard to do.”
The movement he is seeing on his pitching is resulting in more ground balls and in turn, more double plays–getting him out of jams that he wasn’t able to in the past.
Montas is trusting his sinker more than any other point in his career. Before his two starts with Oakland this season he threw his sinker 29.5 percent of the time–now, he is throwing it 57.3 percent of the time.
Montas isn’t taking anything for granted however,
“I know both starts I’ve done well, but I can’t let my guard down,” Montas, with Juan Dorado interpreting, said. “I have to keep working, I have to keep doing what I’m doing and trust Lucroy and what he’s doing as well.”
The Lucroy addition seems to be paying dividends in Montas’ development.
In terms of his fantasy value, I’ve already picked him up in a few keeper/dynasty leagues and have reaped the benefits. Sure, he will likely regress a little bit, but I think he has evolved past his 7+ ERA of last season. With Lucroy and a dominant sinker I like his chances of keeping up his solid play and cementing his fantasy value.
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