The Houston Astros signed reliever Rafael Montero to a 3-year, $34.5 million contract this offseason, which amounts to an average annual salary of $11.5 million. At the time, this looked like a great deal for the 32-year-old pitcher. Well, things have drastically changed and it's time to take a look at what's wrong with Rafael Montero.
In 2022, Montero was one of the best relievers in all of baseball and his numbers showed that.
Montero was also a huge part of the Astros World Series run last year, he was also involved in the no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The big question is what happened to Rafael Montero this season? Why has he been so disappointing? Well, let's take a look at his stats so far this year.
The drastic change in all of his numbers are playing a big part as to why the Astros have had a rocky start to this season. One of the major problems that I noticed is that opposing hitters are all over Montero's slider and changeup, which used to be so dominant last year.
1. Changeup (2022)
Montero's changeup last season against hitters: .133 BA/.183 SLG/.163 wOBA/.192 xBA.
2. Changeup (2023)
Montero's changeup this season against hitters: .361 BA/.556 SLG/.415 wOBA/.253 xBA.
3. Slider (2022)
Montero's slider last season against hitters: .190 BA/.238 SLG/.188 wOBA/.135 xBA.
4. Slider (2023)
Montero's slider this season against hitters: .545 BA/.818 SLG/.671 wOBA/.400 xBA
5. Potential Pitching Clock Issue?
Montero isn't the only pitcher to have a drastic change from last season and the pitching clock may be the reason why. It definitely takes time to adjust to certain things, but we're heading into July and something has to give from Montero.
Montero has no minor-league option in his contract while being locked up for three more years. It will be interesting to see what Houston does with this situation. Hopefully Montero is able to get back to his old ways to avoid any overthinking from the Astros front office.