In the event the Mets need another starting pitcher, Triple-A prospect Gabriel Ynoa - and not Rafael Montero - may be next in line, according to NY Post reporter Mike Puma.
"Montero has taken a step back," a team source told Puma.
Montero, 25, appeared in 17 games for the Mets the last three seasons. He was named the Pitcher of the Week for the Pacific Coast League in early May, but is just 4-4 with a 6.13 ERA in 14 starts with Triple-A Las Vegas this season. He missed the majority of last season due to a unspecified shoulder issue.
Meanwhile, in 16 starts, Ynoa is 9-3 with a 3.77 ERA, while striking out just 51 batters and walking 28 in 100.1 innings.
Ynoa, 23, entered this season as the organization's third-best pitching prospect, behind Marcos Molina and Robert Gsellman, according to MLB.com. Molina is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, while Gsellman is on the 7-day disabled list.
I recall being very impressed with Ynoa's change up this past spring. He also changed speeds with his fastball, which clocked between 95-90 mph. He also has outstanding control. Frankly, it's almost too good, which is something that plagued Montero during his time in the big leagues. Sure, it's great to throw strike after strike in the minor leagues, where guys are less disciplined. But, in the big leagues, facing the best hitters in the world, it's not good enough to consistently throw low-90s fastballs down the plate. Pitchers have to miss on occasion, even if on purpose, and Ynoa hasn't made that adjustment or had to face that music yet, which concerns me.
Nevertheless, he has a super smooth delivery, which he repeats very well. His arm slot is the same every time he throws. And, he appears to be very poised and mature on the mound, very calm, very aware of his surroundings. It may be that a promotion could benefit him. It may be what is needed to teach him how to be a strategic big-league pitcher, which is what he'll have to be to succeed. If he gets it, I bet he's a really good pitcher down the road. If he doesn't, it could be Montero all over again...
In spring training, SNY.TV hooked up Kevin Plawecki with GoPro cameras to get a unique point of view of a live batting practice session with Ynoa on the mound...