Jordan Montgomery is opening eyes in Yankees camp this spring

The lefty has impressed manager Joe Girardi with his work so far
Jordan Montgomery has made three appearances in games so far this spring.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

TAMPA - Yankees manager Joe Girardi admittedly didn't get to see much of left-hander Jordan Montgomery last season, but he's gotten an up close and personal look at the 24-year-old this spring, and he has a simple synopsis of what he's seen so far.
"Oh, I like him. We like him," Girardi said earlier this week when asked about Montgomery.
Drafted out of the University of South Carolina in the fourth round in 2014, Montgomery has risen quickly through the system, reaching Triple-A barely two calendar years after signing his pro contract. He threw just 19 innings between the GCL and Staten Island in his first summer, but impressed with a 2.95 ERA in 134 1/3 innings between Class-A Charleston and High-A Tampa in 2015.
Montgomery moved up to Double-A to begin 2016, and posted a 9-4 record and a 2.55 ERA in 19 starts with Trenton before being promoted to Triple-A. He was even more dominant once he got to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 5-1 with an 0.97 ERA in six regular-season starts and making three more in the postseason for the RailRiders, including the nod in the Triple-A National Championship Game.
That's a lot of success in a short span of time, and for Girardi, it's not hard to see why.
"He's got a lot of downhill angle. Slider's been good, curveball's been good, changeup's been good," Girardi said. "His command has been good, too. We think there's a pretty high ceiling for this kid."
Montgomery has begun his 2017 with his first trip to major-league camp, and as with a few of the other young starters in camp, he has been kept on a schedule of pitching every five days - but if one were to read into usage to determine the lefty's place on the pecking order, it's worth noting that he has come into games almost immediately after that day's starter, and he's the only one of the young guns whose plan so far was to see all of his action in actual Grapefruit League games.
The results have been mixed - he has a 5.68 ERA in three outings this spring, plus one sim game under his belt - but beyond that, the Yankees' skipper has seen a 24-year-old who isn't fazed by his fast rise.
"I think he's really reacted well to Spring Training and his first time being in camp," Girardi said. "I think he pitched in the College World Series, which probably helped him in a situation like this. He's been pretty impressive."
It will be impossible for Montgomery to continue moving up multiple levels per year because there's just one left to go, but if the lefty can continue to conquer Triple-A the way he already has the rest of the Minors, Girardi can foresee him making that final jump at some point this summer.
"I think he's a guy that could probably help you, yes," the skipper said. "I think you'll see him continue to develop and get better and better, but I think he's a guy that could possibly help us this year."