Every player for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals can say that making it to the Major Leagues is extremely tough. Mike Montgomery has been the top pitching prospect for the Kansas City Royals the last three years. He was a first-round draft pick out of high school with a ton of talent. But even his story shows the road to the majors is elusive.
“It's one of those things where you got to take it as a challenge and always see the positive in things,” said Montgomery. “So I take it as a challenge and accept that things aren't going to be easy in this game and you've got to perceiver through it and you've got to get better.”
In last year’s spring training Montgomery was in line to be a starter in Kansas City. 18 months later he's back down in AA ball.
“I've had ups and downs on the way I'm thinking and getting in a negative thought process. But there's nothing good down that road. You've got to stay positive and that's my focus,” said Montgomery.
And the pressure builds up; still a young guy, four years later, expected to go start against the best players in the world.
“Sometimes he puts too much pressure on himself,” said Naturals manager Brian Poldberg. “As if 'I've got to get it done and I've got to get it done tonight.' It takes a long time. Some guys get it at different increments. Right now we're hoping he gets it figured out because we definitely could use him in the rotation in Kansas City.”
Worrying about it won't do him any good, either will putting too much pressure on himself to make it to the majors.
“It's all about the pressure of performing to my best level,” said Montgomery. “That starts every day and starts with the positive mindset. That's the key for me the rest of this season, not worrying about anything else besides performing every day to my best.”