If I were to ask you whether Mike Montgomery was better as a starter or reliever in 2017, how would you answer? I assumed his relief numbers would be substantially better as a reliever, but I was wrong.
Montgomery locked in a nice 69 innings as a starter last season and finished with a .280 wOBA against, 3.94 FIP, and 4.15 ERA. Pitching in relief, the long lefty secured a similar .281 wOBA against and 4.22 FIP, but a better 2.45 ERA in 61 innings.
Despite the disparity in ERA between Monty’s starting and relief outings, the gaps in his wOBA and FIP are more negligible. And that FIP is actually 0.28 points better when starting the game. Given their need to replace two spots in the rotation, that could factor.
Montgomery’s role hasn’t been carved out for 2018, but there is reason to believe he would be a formidable option in the rotation. If the Cubs decide to give him that shot on a full-time basis, maybe Jim Hickey can further improve the game of the man who recorded the last out of the World Series.