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Top 25 prospects countdown: #25-Troy Montgomery

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Montgomery, in a lot of ways, is a bit reminiscent of another former 8th round pick by the Angels, Kole Calhoun. He’s a bit on the smaller side, nearly identical to Kole’s 5’10”, 190 lb. frame (just 5 lbs. lighter than Kole is now), he’s left-handed, comes from a big state school, and nothing in particular jumps off the page when you look at his scouting reports. Sound familiar?

Montgomery’s current value comes from his glove work. He was rated the best defensive outfielder in the Big Ten by Baseball America, he can play all three outfield positions, thanks to his plus speed, and he offers a tad bit of upside with the bat just for an added benefit. He’s shown a knack for having a good idea/approach at the plate (which translated to a 13.3 BB% in Rookie Ball and 9.6 BB% in his first full-season showing in Burlington), which is nice to see since he walked more than he struck out in college, but the K’s are still of a concern. He had 20 K’s in in 26 games in Orem and 30 K’s in 38 games with Burlington. The stark difference in walks, K’s, and BABIP led to his slashline falling from .341/.453/.557 in Rookie Ball, to .261/.340/.401 in the more advanced Class A.

So his bat was exposed when he ran into more polished pitching, not too surprising, but his ability to limit K’s will be the big thing to follow in 2017. He doesn’t have the power to make up for striking out at high rates, so his offensive value in a potential Major League role will have to come by walking, getting on base, and trying to hold a respectable batting average with fringe-to-average power. His glove work, positional flexibility, speed, and relative youth do offer a small glimpse of hope, though. If he can turn into an average hitter, he could provide plenty of value as a backup outfielder, and I’m sure the Angels would be glad to have that in an 8th round pick.