By Bruce Levine-
GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — White Sox fans, you have a new name to remember: right-hander Frankie Montas.
Acquired in the Jake Peavy trade in July of 2013, Montas is a big man who can rush the ball up to the plate at 100 mph. While the 6-foot-2 Montas is listed at 185 pounds in the White Sox media guide, he’s at least 40 pounds beyond that deflated weight estimate.
“I have been working on conditioning and my body,” Montas said. “Last year people were saying I looked like Bartolo Colon. I said to myself, ‘I don’t wan to look like that.’ With the help of the trainers, I have done a lot to stay strong and lose weight.”
Montas has primarily been a starting pitcher in the minor leagues. Before the White Sox signed David Robertson as the closer, club officials were contemplating moving the power arm of Montas into a bullpen role, but that’s not the current plan.
“He is a starting pitcher for us now,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “We are looking for starters. We can always make a decision to change that later on. We need to develop starters, and this young man has a very good arm.”
Montas, who will turn 22 later this month, was a combined 5-0 with a 1.44 ERA in 15 starts at three minor league stops in 2014, and he finished at Double-A Birmingham. He averaged just shy of one strikeout per inning pitched and had a decent 3.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
“There are some mechanical things we are working with him on,” Cooper said Monday. “We want him to get through all of the quadrants with his fastball (layman’s term for not short-arming his pitches). He missed a couple of days, so we will pick up with a sideline today.”
Closer of the future or a starter? Montas isn’t sure himself; he has a more immediate concern.
“The veterans like (Jose) Quintana tell me not to worry about my role,” Montas said. “For now I will concentrate on making my change-up better and having fastball command. They can ask me to do any role. My goal is to get to the major leagues.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.