With the 36th overall pick in the 2008 draft, the Royals selected left handed pitcher Michael Montgomery of California's Hart High School. On Thursday evening, RC caught up with Montgomery to discuss his draft day experience, his repertoire, and his expectations.
Royals Corner: Mike, first off, congratulations on your selection. What was your reaction when you heard the news today?
Michael Montgomery: Thank you. I was really excited and relieved, because we were watching [the draft] and waiting for me to be called, and once I was called, I just got a really big sense of relief and excitement. It was a really fun time.
RC: What were your expectations heading into the draft?
MM: I try not to keep my expectations too high, because you never know. You don’t want to expect too much and have it not work out. I knew I was going to be somewhere in the first or supplemental [round], and after the first rolled around, I was a little nervous. Actually I was really nervous. And then I heard my name, and it was an exciting thing to hear.
RC: Had you heard much from Kansas City? Did you have a pretty good idea they were interested in you?
MM: Before the draft, I talked to them. It wasn’t like I had a feeling that they were going to take me. I really had no clue. I was actually surprised, and they called me and said “Congratulations, we’ve been looking at you, and you’re the guy we wanted. We were surprised to get you.” They didn’t think they were going to end up getting me, but they did, and I’m really ready to get out there and start my career.
RC: Have you heard anything about where you’ll start when you sign? Do you think you’ll start out in the Arizona League?
MM: Yeah, I’m not exactly sure. I think we might meet with [the Royals] on Sunday about the logistics of everything. But I don’t know. I might just go out to their spring training facilities in Arizona for something, and then probably go to rookie ball. I really don’t know at this point. I’m just ready to go somewhere and start playing.
RC: Could you talk a little bit about your repertoire? What pitches do you throw, and generally what speeds do you work at?
MM: It’s actually funny. Last summer, I was only about 88-90 consistently, and over the year I’ve gotten bigger and a lot stronger. I’m probably 91-92 consistently, and I’ve been told I’ve hit 95 a few times. So my fastball is probably my best pitch. That’s the thing, once you get up there, that’s the pitch you have to work off of, and that’s the pitch I’ve got to learn to locate and basically work everything off the fastball. Also, the changeup I have is a really good pitch for me, and that’s the pitch I want to develop to be almost my best pitch, and my out pitch. I really want to work fastball/changeup. I also have two breaking balls. One of them is actually a weird pitch that not many people have heard of – it’s called a palm ball. Nobody has really seen it before, it actually works like a curveball. And then I have a traditional curveball that almost works like a slider. So I’ve got four pitches. I want to develop them a lot better, but mainly my main pitches would be fastball/changeup.
RC: Which pitch do you think is going to need the most work as a professional?
MM: I would say my fastball, honestly, just because you really don’t need the other pitches as much if you can work with your fastball. And so the key is to get your fastball, to be able to locate it in and out, and getting hitters out quickly on fastballs. And once you can do that, it sets up all your other stuff, so maybe your other stuff doesn’t need to be as great as it would if you couldn’t locate the fastball.
RC: Thanks a lot for speaking with me, and congratulations again on your selection.
MM: No problem, and thanks a lot.