The Oakland A’s decision to name Frankie Montas as their Opening Day starter shows their belief in his performance in 2019.
The 2019 campaign was Frankie Montas‘ breakout season. He has finally developed into the pitcher the Oakland A’s had hoped for, as everything came together for the one time top prospect. He started out the season on fire, and was seemingly on his way to an All Star berth and, possibly, consideration for the Cy Young award.
Everything went down the drain on June 21. Major League Baseball announced that Montas was suspended 80 games after testing positive for PEDs, putting those gains into doubt. He took responsibility for the failed test, although he claimed to have been done in by an over-the-counter supplement.
While that PED suspension would seemingly make Montas a question mark heading into the coming season, the A’s are not concerned. On Saturday, they showed how much faith they have in Montas’ ability to replicate that success as he was named their Opening Day starter.
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Based on his statistics, this is the right decision. Montas had posted a 9-2 record, along with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.115 WHiP, striking out 103 batters with 23 walks in his 96 innings. It is, however, fair to wonder how much of that breakout was the result of Montas taking that step forward in his development, and how much was chemically enhanced.
The A’s do not appear to have any such concerns. They are gambling that Montas will be able to recapture that form for the coming season. That gamble, especially in the shortened year, could prove to have major consequences for the rest of the year.
But it could also have a major benefit. Montas may have the most upside of the more established pitchers in the rotation, a possible ace in his own right. Although he has been overlooked due to the presence of prospects Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk, Montas remains an intriguing long term option for the A’s as well.
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The Oakland A’s are confident that Frankie Montas’ breakout from 2019 is sustainable. That faith has led to his being named their Opening Day starter.