Rafael Montero: Former Mets Pitcher (2014 - 2016)

Rafael Quezada Montero
was born October 17th, 1990, in Higuerito, Banica Dominican Republic. In 2011 at the age of twenty the six-foot right hander was signed by the New York Mets.

Montero began his career going from the Rookie League to A ball Brooklyn. In just two games with the Cyclones, he was 1-0 allowing two runs on three hits in five innings of work.

In 2012 
between Savannah & St. Lucie, Montero was 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA striking out 110 batters in 110 innings while making 20 starts.

In 2013 he got an invitation to the Mets Spring Training & impressed with his aggressiveness against big league hitters. Mets assistant GM Paul DePodesta at the time said, "He didn't care, he went right after them".

Quotes- Rafael Montero: “I think it helped me last year, I knew what I had to work on. I am excited to do it again.”

Montero was known as a strike out control pitcher who didn't have a blazing fastball. 

In 2013 he was promoted to AA Binghamton, where he impressed going 7-3 with a 2.43 ERA, striking out 72 while walking just ten batters in 66 innings pitched. He was promoted to the AAA Las Vegas going 5-4 with 78 strike outs & 25 walks in 88 innings pitched. 

In 2014, Montero was invited to Mets Spring Training, gaining a lot of attention after the most popular prospect, Noah Syndergaard. Montero started the first Spring Training game, pitching two scoreless innings at Port St. Lucie against the Washington Nationals.

That year he was ranked at #68 among all minor league prospects by Baseball America. 
He began the season at AAA Las Vegas going 6-4 with a 3.60 ERA, striking out 80 batters in 80 innings.

Mets Career: On May 14th, Montero made his MLB debut replacing an injured Dillon Gee. He started a subway series game at Citi Field, giving up a pair of HRs & taking a 4-0 loss. In his second start, he gave up five runs to the Dodgers taking another loss.

On May 25th he got no decision in a 2-1 loss to the Arizona d-backs. In six innings he allowed just one run on two hits, striking out an impressive ten batters. After four starts he was sent back to AAA Las Vegas to tune himself up & get ready for the big leagues.

He returned in mid-August, making a start against the Nationals but gave up three HRs & five runs taking the loss, falling to 0-3. 

On August 17th, he pitched well, allowing just one run into the 8th inning but suffered a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

On September 10th, Montero earned his first career win, shutting out the Colorado Rockies into the 6th inning, allowing just three hits with seven strike outs.

On September 27th, Montero went into the 6th inning against the Astros, allowing just one run, striking out six, in a 2-1 Mets win.

For 2014, he was 1-3 with a 4.06 ERA, with 42 strike outs & 23 walks in 44 innings of work in ten appearances. He did not pitch in the post season.

2015 Mets NL Pennant Season: He began the season finishing off a 2-1 loss to the Nationals in D.C. 

On April 10th, he came into a tied game with the Braves in the 8th inning but gave up a walk & two hits taking the loss. 

He made just five appearances posting a 4.50 ERA getting sent down to AAA. He suffered a swollen rotator cuff & was placed on the 60-day disabled list which ended his season. 

2016 Mets Wild Card Season: he began the year at AAA Las Vegas & got called up in mid-April replacing Eric Campbell on the roster. On April 16th, he was roughed up for two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings of work in relief at Cleveland in a 7-5 loss.

Later that week he gave up the only run in a Mets 11- romp at Philadelphia in another relief outing. His ERA was up at 11.57 with three runs on five hits in just 2.1 innings of work when he was sent back down to the minor leagues.

Montero was once thought of to be a better prospect than Jacob deGrom, 
struggled at AAA & was back pitching at AA Binghamton.

Montero was called back up again making a start on August 29th, as the Mets chose to rest a fatigued Jacob deGrom, in a big game against the Miami Marlins.  He pitched five shutout innings matching Jose Fernandez. The Mets won it 2-1 in ten innings.

He helped the Mets win the wild card spot thru September. Overall, in nine appearances he was 0-1 with an 8.05 ERA, collecting 20 strike outs & 16 walks in 19 innings.

2017: This year Montero finally spent the entire season with the Mets, but they fell to a disappointing fourth place finish going 70-92. 

In the second game of the season, he took the loss in an extra inning fall to the Braves at Citi Field.
On April 18th, he gave up three runs in a 6-2 loss to the Phillies, falling to 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA.

On May 5th, he made his first start of the year, but gave up five runs in 3.2 innings of work, although the Mets came back with an 8-7 win. He suffered two more losses that month to fall to 0-4 with an 8.24 ERA.

On June 25th, he earned his first win, giving up just one run while striking out seven Giants in San Francisco. It would be two more months until he earned his next win, taking four more losses along the way. On August 19th, he earned the win over the Marlins, allowing just a run on six hits in six innings of work.

On August 31st, Montero had his best start of the year, he shut out the Reds into the 9th inning giving up just three hits, while striking out a season high eight in a 2-0 shut out in Cincinnati. Montero won three straight games before suffering two more losses for the season.

In 2017, he went 5-11 with a 5.52 ERA, striking out a career best 114 batters, walking 67 in 119 innings in 34 appearances in 18 starts.

He suffered a torn UCL & underwent Tommy John surgery, missing the entire 2018 season. Montero's career with the Mets never took off or was successful as it was forecast to be. I

Mets Career: In his four years with the Mets he was 6-16 with a 5.38 ERA, striking out 189 batters walking 111 in 192.1 innings in 58 appearances making 30 starts.

He was granted free agency & signed with the Texas Rangers.

Post Mets Career: After recovering from the surgery, he returned to the mound on July 23rd pitching two innings at Seattle. On August 4th, he collected his first win finishing up a win over the Tigers. On the season he was 2-0 with seven holds & a 2.48 ERA.

He spent three seasons in Texas, before getting traded to the Seattle Mariners at the end of 2020.
In 2021 he was 5-4 with the Mariners, then was traded at the deadline to the Houston Astros for Joe Smith & Abraham Toro.

In 2022 he had his best season, as a dominant reliever going 5-2 for the World Champion Astros,
posting a 2.17 ERA striking out 73 in 68.1 innings of work. In his first two months, he gave up just one run in his first 22 games (20.2 innings) going 3-0 striking out 23 batters collecting six holds.

On June 4th, he gave up four runs to the Royals in his worst appearance of the year. He then allowed just three earned runs in 24 appearances (25 innings) over the next three months.

On July 3rd, he struck out two batters in a game where Astro pitchers struck out a record tying 20 batters for the combined winning effort over the Angels. 

On August 31st he collected his tenth save, reaching that milestone for the first time in his career. He would go 5-2 with 14 saves & a 2.37 ERA on the year, making 71 appearances (3rd most in the AL) finishing off 25 games.

2022 Post Season- ALDS: In Game #1 he earned the win over the Mariners, when Yordan Alvarez hit a three-run walk off HR. He pitched 3.1 scoreless innings in three appearances in the series.

2022 ALCS: In the ALCS win over the AL New York team, he posted a 4.50 ERA in three games.

2022 World Series: In the win over the Phillies, Montero made four appearances collecting a hold in Game #5. He posted a 2.25 ERA allowing one run in 4.0 innings of work.

In 2023 he went 3-3 for the AL Champion Astros, collecting a save with a 5.08 ERA.

2023 Post Season:
In the ALDS win over the Twins he appeared in two games pitching two scoreless innings. In the ALCS loss to Texas he made three appearances, getting charged with two runs in the Rangers 9-2 win.

Career Stats: In his nine-year career Montero is 21-26 with 30 saves & a 4.71 ERA. He had 436 strike outs with 191 walks in 424 innings of work in 280 appearances with 30 starts.

Family: Rafael & his wife Yasmina have one daughter.


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