In 2008 the Royals selected a lanky California lefty with their supplemental first round pick. His name was Mike Montgomery and one of the first things that Royals fans learned about him was that he was kicked off his high school basketball team due to receiving to many technical fouls. Nonetheless baseball people seemed to brag about this fact like it was a badge of honor and it wasn't hard to picture Royals scouts watching Montgomery in the summer sun with proud eyes while leaning to the guy sitting next to them and stating "I just love his fierce personality and how he is a fiery competitor."
Montgomery also has some of the top stuff on the Minor League circuit. His fastball is a plus plus pitch that sits in the mid 90s with plenty of life. His curveball comes in somewhere in the 70s and is another dominating pitch. He also possesses a changeup that is average and should continue to be an even better offering down the road. Montgomery has top of the rotation stuff with a frame that suggests it should only improve.
Montgomery has received raved reviews throughout his time in the organization and there was even a point this season when Baseball America questioned if he was the top pitching prospect in baseball after a dominating start in Wilmington. With his success at the high A level Montgomery rather quickly earned a bump up to the Texas League. However, once there he suffered some fore arm tightness and so the Royals shut him down for an extended period. Montgomery has top notch mechanics, with a fluid motion so injuries won't be a concern moving forward.
Because of his time missed during the regular season, the Royals were able to give him some time in both the Pan-Am games and the prestigious Arizona Fall League. Montgomery's era left something to be desired in the AFL, but on the night he pitched in the Rising Stars game the announcers couldn't help but salivate over his Cliff Lee potential.
Heading into Spring Training most viewed Duffy as the most ready starter out of the 4 lefties. But after Montgomery's Spring performance most are now raving how near ready he is. Montgomery is not yet on the 40-man roster but we should see him in Kansas City by season's end.
Given that a hitter's production is typically maximized by controlling him through his age 23-29 year old season, it makes sense for the Royals to be extremely conservative in their development and promotion of Moustakas, Hosmer, Colon, Eibner, and Myers. But with pitchers this peak value usually occurs between ages 21-27 or 22-28, basically from whenever the pitcher reaches the Majors until his reaches free agency.
While the Royals are going to want to choose the most effective years possible for their control, it is also important that their players service time matchup as best as possible. Given the current situation this service shouldn't be off by more than one, maybe two seasons. Also, when you consider the amount of pitching depth that the Royals have it would seem to make sense to get the pitchers up now and then take your time even more with the guys behind them. By doing so you could ideally lengthen the value of the current crop of prospects in the system.1. Eric Hosmer 1B