Oakland A’s: Can Frankie Montas live up to role as team ace?
By David Hill
With his start on Opening Day, the Oakland A’s essentially named Frankie Montas as their ace. However, he has not lived up to that role yet.
In 2019, Frankie Montas appeared to have taken that step forward that the Oakland A’s were waiting for. He had emerged as a bonafide All Star candidate, and a pitcher that could potentially receive consideration for the AL Cy Young award. However, he was suspended for PED use, ending those discussions.
Despite that positive test, the A’s believed that Montas’ breakout campaign was legitimate. Manager Bob Melvin named Montas his Opening Day starter as a testament of that faith. He performed relatively well in that outing, allowing one run on three hits and three walks while striking out five batters over four innings.
It was expected that Montas would build on that solid outing in his second start. Instead, he just sort of maintained where he was. He allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over his five innings, striking out three batters. He actually threw four fewer pitches than in his start on Opening Day, so it was not a matter of building up a pitch count.
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Overall, Montas has been reasonably solid in his two outings. His production is exactly what a team would hope for from a middle of the rotation arm, someone that has kept the A’s in the game and given them a chance to win. Provided, of course, that the offense showed up at any point.
But the A’s need more than that from a pitcher who is nominally their staff ace. The A’s need Montas to essentially be the pitcher he was before his suspension last season, when he posted a 2.63 ERA and a 1.115 WHiP, striking out 103 batters with just 23 walks in his 96 innings. That is the pitcher that was a budding ace.
There is a chance that Montas can become that this season. He has made just two starts after all, and has hovered around the 80 pitch mark in both. Presumably, in another start or two, he will be back to his full load, and capable of lasting six or more innings a game. Then we can see if Montas is the ace that the A’s hoped for.
Thus far, Frankie Montas has not looked like the ace the Oakland A’s had hoped for. But there is still time for him to become exactly that.