We previously talked about how the Rockies have really started to target pitching. They acquired two solid pitchers in a trade with the Angels (one with polish and a high floor, one with elite traits and high upside). Prior to this emphasis on the pitching, the Rockies were really aggressive in adding high ceiling outfielders. They drafted or signed guys like Jordan Beck, Zac Veen, Yanquiel Fernandez, Robert Calaz and there are certainly more. The next guy on our list fits in with that second group.
Benny Montgomery's power speed combination earn him the No. 14 spot in this year's prospect rankings
The Rockies drafted Montgomery eighth overall in the 2021 draft after he won the Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year. He checked in at number 15 on MLB Pipeline's overall ranking for that draft and they raved about Montgomery's athleticism.
"He showed off his close to top-of-the-scale speed (some scouts have 80 run times for him) and his tremendous raw power that helped him win the Perfect Game All-American Classic Home Run Derby. "- MLB Pipeline top draft prospects of 2021
There is a lot of projectability in Montgomery, being 6'4, 200 lbs, at just 21 years old. Pipeline gives him some solid grades, with a 55-grade power, 70-grade run and 60-grade field. The obvious omission here is the hit tool, at just 45, there is definitely some work to be done that will dictate what Montgomery ceiling is. Montgomery already possesses at least 20-20 potential, with plus defense, with more in the tank. If he can improve the hit tool and be a .240-.250 or better hitter, we are looking at a regular all-star level player.
Check out the video below to see Montgomery flash some of his tools, courtesy of The Hub for Baseball Highlights
In Montgomery's first full season debut in 2022, he showcased some elite tools slashing .310/.385/.494 with six home runs and nine stolen bases in 62 games. He was just 19 years old, but his 27% strikeout rate was a little concerning. 2023 saw him spend the full year in High-A Spokane where he played in 109 games, slashing .251/.336/.370 with just 10 home runs, but he was able to steal 18 bases. Again, he put up a 27% strikeout rate, which is not bad considering he was two-and-a-half years younger than the rest of the league, but when you slug .370 with just 10 home runs, it's hard to justify the elevated strikeout rate.
Montgomery still has a ton of upside at just 21, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done on the offensive side. The Rockies would like to see Montgomery tap into some of that elite power that scouts raved about coming into the 2021 draft. Montgomery is a solid defender, but if he can take some big steps forward offensively then he could make his way back up into the top five or eight prospects int he system.
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