Astros' reliever Rafael Montero gives back to Banica, DR
In their first move of the offseason, the Houston Astros re-signed Rafael Montero to a three-year, $34.5 million contract extension. Needless to say, the extension was more than deserved.
Montero was a dominant leverage arm for the Astros, going 5-2 with a 2.37 ERA in his 68.1 innings of work. His Statcast metrics were even more impressive. Montero finished the year in the 99th percentile in barrel rate, 94th percentile in xSLG, 91st percentile in average exit velocity, 90th percentile in xERA/xwOBA and 85th percentile in xBA.
His playoff stretch was equally lights out, completing 9.1 innings of work and striking out 10 on his way to a 1.93 postseason ERA. The former throw-in component of the Astros/Mariners Kendall Graveman trade solidified himself as an Astro for the foreseeable future.
He wasted no time putting his newly signed contract extension to good use.
As reported by Hector Gomez, Montero traveled back to his hometown of Higüerito in Banica, Dominican Republic in order to give back around the holidays.
Montero returns to play a game of softball with his siblings (he has eight older brothers) and then to give out Christmas baskets to families in the community that are in need. According to Gomez, Montero has been doing this since he signed his first professional contract.
For the most part, Montero has been a rather private individual. But it's always refreshing to see athletes give back to the community without an agenda or desire for the spotlight.
Montero was a huge asset to the Astros last season. Like any, Astro, he was booed anytime he took the diamond in 2022. The fact that he was a New York Met in 2017 did little and had played for two other big league clubs since before coming to Houston did little to silence opposing crowds.
But this is a good reminder these athletes are human beings. And many of them are good ones. Montero gives back to the community because he can. And we in The H appreciate him for it. Good on you Rafael! We're pumped to have you for the next three years.