New York Report: Rafael Montero

Mets excited by 'glimpse into the future'

July, 14, 2013
Montero-SyndergaardBrad Penner/USA TODAY SportsRafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard lit up the radar gun, and the hearts of Mets fans, on Sunday.
NEW YORK -- New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson was impressed with what he saw from pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, who each threw scoreless first innings before departing in Sunday’s Futures Game.

“My guess is they both started because we’re at Citi Field, but they both distinguished themselves and they both would’ve pitched regardless,” Alderson said after the U.S. Team beat the World Team, 4-2. “They both threw well, and we’re excited about both of them.

“It was a glimpse into the future. Not just for us but for our fans, and that’s a real positive.”

Syndergaard faced the minimum for the U.S. Team, highlighting his extremely brief outing by striking out Arismendy Alcantara with a 96-mph fastball. The 20-year-old right-hander, whose heater was regularly clocked between 95 and 96 mph and also featured a solid curveball, allowed a two-out single to Xander Bogaerts, but Bogaerts was caught trying to steal second for the final out of the frame.

“It was awesome,” Syndergaard said. “I got my inning in, then watched for eight innings. I can’t wait to get here and hopefully I become as good as [Matt] Harvey and [Zack] Wheeler.”

Montero, pitching for the World Team, responded with a 1-2-3 inning -- inducing two fly outs and a ground out. The 22-year-old right-hander’s fastball was regularly clocked between 93 and 95 mph. Montero also featured a slider, but didn’t have a chance to show his change-up or sinker.

“It’s something incredible, it’s a really beautiful thing,” Montero said through a translator. “I’m incredibly thankful that I got the chance to pitch here, and maybe one day I’ll have a chance to pitch here [in the big leagues].”

Alderson is especially impressed by Montero’s demeanor on the mound.

“For a young guy without that much experience -- although he’s in Triple-A now, he’s really moved quick -- he’s done it in-part because he has the kind of demeanor that you’re looking for on the mound.”

Alderson said he feels Syndergaard is improving.

“He was somewhat reticent when he came in, somewhat withdrawn, but I think that’s disappeared over time and he’s made lots of progress too.

“We’re very high on him, as are a lot of people in the game. We’ll just let him continue to mature and get more experience.”

• Brandon Nimmo, the Mets’ first-round pick in 2011, entered in left field in the fifth and went 0-for-2 at the plate, lining out to shortstop and grounding out to second.

“It’s a nice little stepping stone, a nice little reward,” Nimmo said.

“It was everything that I was looking forward to. What a beautiful ballpark and what a great welcoming from the fans. I just had a great time and really enjoyed it.”

Mets, Yanks hurlers stand out at Futures

July, 14, 2013
NEW YORK -- The U.S. Team defeated the World Team, 4-2, in the Futures Game on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.

A quick look at how the local prospects performed:

FOR STARTERS: Mets right-handers Noah Syndergaard (U.S.) and Rafael Montero (World) both threw scoreless first innings before exiting.

Syndergaard highlighted his frame by striking out Arismendy Alcantara with a 96 mph fastball. He allowed a two-out single to Xander Bogaerts, but Bogaerts was thrown out trying to steal second.

Montero, whose fastball registered between 93 and 95 mph on the radar gun, countered with a 1-2-3 inning, inducing two fly outs and a ground out.

IN RELIEF: Yankees right-hander Rafael De Paula pitched a scoreless fifth inning, stranding a runner at third base. He struck out arguably the best position prospect in the game, Byron Buxton, with a 94 mph fastball leading off the frame.

AT THE PLATE: Brandon Nimmo entered in left field in the fifth and went 0-for-2 at the plate, lining out to shortstop and grounding out to second base.

Mets 'Futures' face each other

July, 14, 2013
NEW YORK -- Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero may be teammates someday.

But on Sunday, the New York Mets' highly-touted pitching prospects face one another in the Futures Game at Citi Field.

Syndergaard starts for the U.S. Team, while Montero gets the ball for the World Team.

“I’m just happy to be playing here, it doesn’t matter who I’m facing,” Montero said through a translator.

Syndergaard, 20, acquired in the R.A. Dickey trade, is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in four starts since his promotion to Double-A Binghamton. Montero, 22, is 1-2 with a 4.36 ERA in seven starts since his promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Syndergaard said. “I’m just so excited to be here, starting in the Futures Game in a ballpark that will hopefully be my home one day pretty soon.”

“This is definitely a step closer to being in the big leagues,” Montero said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

While Montero has been to New York City before, this is Syndergaard’s first time. Syndergaard has visited Times Square, Foley’s Bar across from the Empire State Building and the MLB Fan Cave. He’s also had several steak dinners, too.

“This city has been so welcoming, and I can’t wait to start my professional career,” Syndergaard said. “I was thinking the other night it feels like a dream. Being in Times Square is awesome.”

Syndergaard is happy with the way his season has gone thus far.

“My curveball is developing better and better each and every day, and I’m just repeating my delivery and my fastball command has been better,” Syndergaard said. “There’s quite a bit of difference between Florida State [League] hitters and Double-A hitters. You can’t really make mistakes, because they’ll capitalize on those.”

Syndergaard is looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow phenoms Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.

“I keep up with [how they’re doing in the big leagues]. I’m looking forward to being part of that group of people. To be mentioned in the same sentence with them is unbelievable.

“Wheeler’s exceeding expectations tremendously, and I really admire Harvey on the mound, his bulldog mentality, the way it looks out there is kind of scary.”

Special assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi projects Montero, who has a fastball clocked between 93-94 mph, will be a solid No. 4 starter in the majors. Syndergaard, who has a heater that ranges between 96-98 mph, needs to work on his offspeed pitches before he gets to the big leagues, Ricciardi said.