Jordan Montgomery: 5 facts on the Cardinals’ trade deadline pickup | MLB News

The Cardinals have made a deal with the New York Yankees to acquire left-handed starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery. The deal sent Harrison Bader back to the Yankees.

Here are five facts about the new starting pitcher for the Cards:

Career Yankee

Drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Yankees, the South Carolina alum has played the entirety of his six-year MLB career with the club.

In those six years, the 29-year-old lefty has accumulated a career record of 22-20 with a 3.94 ERA in 502 innings pitched over 97 starts. This season, the southpaw has pitched to a 3-3 record in 21 starts with 97 strikeouts. He has pitched into the sixth inning or deeper 11 times this season.

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Long and lanky

At 6-foot-6, Montgomery stands tall on the mound, which earned him the nickname “Gumby” while pitching in college. When he was a freshman, a senior noted his long limbs and apparent lack of coordination and gave him the moniker referencing the 1950s green Claymation character.

Initially, the left-hander indicated he wasn’t fond of the nickname but has admitted it has grown on him over time.

On the Cardinals, though, that tall frame hardly registers. Not only will he not be the tallest player on the team, but he won’t be the tallest pitcher. Adam Wainwright continues to own that honor, standing a towering 6-foot-7.

Groundball pitcher

Montgomery is as traditional a groundball pitcher as they come, inducing groundballs 47.1% of the time. Like many other pitchers who profile as groundball specialists, he uses a sinker to create downward action and force hitters to get on top of balls. When throwing that sinker, hitters are batting just .228, compared with .357 when he throws his traditional four-seam fastball.

That said, don’t expect that sinker to get by many hitters. The whiff rate on that sinker is just 19%, the lowest of any of his primary pitches and 70th-lowest of any pitcher who uses the pitch.

Drop the slider, pick up the cutter

Starting in the 2020 season, Montgomery opted to move away from using his slider and converted instead to utilizing a cut fastballotherwise known as a cutter. The pitches do similar things: Both sweep away from the pitcher’s arm side, but the cutter tends to come in at a higher velocity and sharper, albeit less, movement.

Since making that change, Montgomery has lowered his ERA year over year while increasing his total strikeouts. In 2019, the year before adopting the new pitch, he owned a 6.75 ERA. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he lowered it to 5.11 before seeing the most significant drop in the 2021 season, where he held a 3.83 ERA. So far, in 2022, Gumby owns a 3.69 ERA, the lowest of his career by him.

While that cutter is one of his least-used pitches now, it’s been effective when he’s used it, as he’s allowed only four hits in 103 uses this season.

Jump to the Senior Circuit

Having played in the American League East his entire career, the jump to the NL Central may be a welcome change of scenery. The AL East has been one of the most dangerous divisions this year for pitchers, who have allowed AL East teams to hit 612 home runs combined for a 4.26 ERA.

Montgomery will be largely expected to pitch against National League rivals, though, so a respite from the sluggers in the junior circuit may be helpful. In 13 career starts against the NL, Montgomery has been serviceable. He owns a 5-5 record across four seasons of data, throwing 65 innings and allowing a 4.25 ERA.

In 2022, he has fared better than his average; in two starts, Montgomery owns a 3.86 ERA with eight strikeouts. In a start against the Chicago Cubs in June, the southpaw threw seven innings, allowing no runs in a 2-1 victory.

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