Categorized | Cardinals, Minors, Royals

Seedlings To The Stars: Montgomery And Cleto

Old friend of I-70, Wally Fish (of Kings Of Kauffman fame), has a site known as Seedlings To The Stars. They are currently in the process of counting down their top 100 prospects and we thought our readers might like to drop by there for some insight. Below are I-70 players that are currently profiled. Drop by the site and read up on the future of your favorite franchise.

Mike Montgomery courtesy of Minda Haas

Top 100 Prospects, #85: Maikel Cleto, Cardinals
Nathan Stoltz of Seedlings To The Stars says:

Of the 662 pitchers who threw a pitch in the major leagues during 2011, none had a higher average fastball velocity than Cleto’s 98.4 mph. He fired 96-101 mph bullets in relief, and the pitch has good run and sink even at its higher velocities. As a starter, Cleto’s more in the 93-99 mph range, but still boasts a very intimidating heater.

He backs the fastball up with a solid hard curveball in the 82-86 mph range, giving him two good pitches. Ordinarily, a starter needs a more well-rounded arsenal than that, but with this sort of heat, Cleto doesn’t need a changeup as much as most guys. That said, he does throw one, which comes in (rather amusingly) in the low-90′s.

As a 22-year-old, the righthander had no trouble pitching in the High-A Florida State League, and he also handled Double-A with aplomb–no small feat considering that his home park there was the most hitter-friendly park in Double-A. He continued to strike batters out at a solid clip in both Triple-A and the majors; were it not for a disastrous first inning of MLB pitching (which can be excused, certainly), his line would indicate that he didn’t have too much trouble even at the highest level.

Holding his own after all the promotions was a great accomplishment, and Cleto’s premium arm strength gives him tons of upside.

Read Cleto’s full profile by clicking here.

Top 100 Prospects, #84: Mike Montgomery, Royals
Nathan Stoltz of Seedlings To The Stars says:

Montgomery boasts plus stuff, with a good low-90′s fastball and a curve and changeup that flash plus at times. At 6’4″ and with a lanky, projectable frame, he could grow into more velocity, and he could end up with three plus offerings–after all, he just turned 22 in July.

Statistically, Montgomery doesn’t have a whole lot left to prove in the minors after being a mid-rotation workhorse for Triple-A Omaha last season. After he missed significant time in 2010, getting through 150+ innings this season was a big step for the lefthander, and better still, he improved as the year went on. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was just 65/46 through the end of June, but was nearly twice as good thereafter, at 64/23.

Montgomery has always put up good groundball numbers and projects to excel in that area at the MLB level as well.

Read Montgomery’s full profile by clicking here.

If prospects are what you are looking for and you want the most in-depth analysis available, all of us here at I-70 would suggest you drop by Seedlings To The Stars often. I know it is sitting at the top of my bookmarks currently.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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