Is Rafael Montero A Closer?

Rafael Montero

Montero began his professional career as a starting pitcher for the New York Mets, a position he held for the most of his career.

He was traded to the Texas Rangers when his future in the rotation appeared bleak, and he provided two excellent seasons there.

With the Rangers, he had a 3.09 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP, and 53 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings of relief work. As a result, Jerry Dipoto and the Mariner bullpen saw Montero as a possible building block for their bullpen.

Rafael Montero
Rafael Montero

Many reasons exist for not giving up on Montero’s flamethrower just yet, even though the year 2021 has been a catastrophe for him. We can see that he can be a successful pitcher based on his performance with the Rangers in 2019 and 2020.

For Montero in 2021, the advanced statistics are truly quite shocking. Fangraphs has him with a 4.11 FIP and a 6.75 ERA, which is a promising sign.

In order to quantify a pitcher’s effectiveness, the FIP uses only the plays a pitcher is able to influence (walks, strikeouts, home runs, hit by pitches).

Using this data, we can tell that Montero has been incredibly unfortunate, and his ERA should be around 4.11.

A BABIP against him of .346 shows his unluckiness on balls in play. It’s time for Montero’s numbers to start improving, as they’re not good enough to keep him in the game.

This season, he has lost some of his physical ability, as his pitches have less horizontal movement and spin than they did in 2019/2020.

We could see Montero revert to the pitcher he was with the Rangers if he can recapture the movement on his pitches with the help of the Mariners player development (see Paul Sewald).

So dominant has the bullpen been that it’s been easy to pick out Montero. His numbers stand out from the rest of the bullpen and have sparked calls for his dismissal from the organization by supporters.

Is Rafael Montero A Closer?

Rafael Montero was the Closer at his time with the Texas Rangers. With the Houston Astros, he was pushed to the role of a closer and earned his third save.