The MLB Draft has one advantage over other major sports leagues in that players from smaller schools and levels of NCAA competition are more likely to be drafted.
One school that has done exceptionally well in sending talent from the diamond to the ranks of pro ball through the Draft is California Baptist; 17 former Lancers have been drafted since 2010, easily among the top ranks when it comes to D2 Baseball programs.
Looking ahead to the 2018 Draft in just a few months, there is yet another CBU standout looking to add to the recent string of picks from the Riverside-area institution. Right-handed junior Justin Montgomery looks to be just that player as we stand about a month in the D2 season.
At 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, the California native certainly has the size of a potential starting pitcher from big-league standards and the stuff of a possible bullpen piece. One term used in baseball circles may be the best way to describe Montgomery: Developmental arm.
But the right-hander may be more than that.
A part-time starter his first two years of school, Montgomery elevated to the top of the staff. Compiling just sevens starts in two seasons, he came in out of the bullpen with mixed results, largely due to inconsistent command.
Now a full-time starter in a tough PacWest conference with some of the best hitters in the country, Montgomery has improved his stuff to a decent tune thus far. Just take a look at his 2018 statistics as compared to those above from the previous years.
As you can see, the runs have not been as prominent an issue thus far, even though it has been just three games. The walks are still popping up at about three a game, which can be a cause for concern.
Working as a middle reliever seems to be the potential path for Montgomery to attract teams to him as a potential draftee. He clearly has plus stuff to get strikeouts, but working on limiting runners and getting holds will be a point of emphasis that scouts want to see.
But if scouts find something to potentially tap as a source of unearthed power, then we could soon be seeing Montgomery having his name called as part of the 2018 MLB Draft. Plus, just being a junior he can always come back to school if he decides to not sign with his drafting club.
HERO Sports Draft Analyst Jason A. Churchill on Montgomery:
With prototypical physical tools and a strong early showing, Montgomery is garnering the anticipated attention after a solid summer in the Cape Cod League. He showed a firmer fastball up to 93 mph and his slider flashed tighter spin and more consistency. With a better changeup, Montgomery a legit three-pitch starter worth an early Day-2 selection for a club looking to develop a very good arm coming from a program with a strong track record under Coach Adcock.
Keep an eye on this diamond in the rough for the rest of the lead-up to the MLB Draft, cause he might soon be coming to a diamond near you.