Noah Syndergaard saw it coming, though it didn't make it any easier.
The Mets' top prospect was assigned to Minor League camp on Tuesday and is expected to open the season with Triple-A Las Vegas.
Syndergaard struggled in Grapefruit League play, posting a 5.19 ERA in four starts. It likely would not have mattered how well the 21-year-old right-hander pitched, as the Mets have established a pattern with their top pitching prospects: have them get their feet wet at Triple-A. In 2012, it was Matt Harvey; last year, it was Zack Wheeler.
"No matter how well I threw during Spring Training, whether I struck out everybody and didn't allow any runs whatsoever, I think I still was going to go over to the Minor League side regardless," Syndergaard told MLB.com. "I know there's a business standpoint to it, and there's other things I need to work on on the mound."
Acquired from the Blue Jays in December 2012, the 6-foot-6 Texan split last season between Class A Advanced St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. He went 9-4 with a 3.06 ERA and 133 strikeouts over 117 2/3 innings in 23 starts.
The reassignment of Montero was a bit of a surprise, with some thinking MLB.com's No. 85 overall prospect might begin the year in the big leagues. Instead, he'll form a dynamic 1-2 duo at the top of the rotation for Las Vegas, where he was 5-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 16 starts last summer.
In other New York prospect news, Yankees No. 2 farmhand Mason Williams was sent to Minor League camp. The 22-year-old outfielder could return to Double-A Trenton, where he played 17 games at the end of last season. Williams spent most of the year with Class A Advanced Tampa, hitting .261 with three homers, 24 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 100 games.
Elsewhere in Florida, the Marlins assigned their first-round picks from the last two Drafts to Minor League camp. Left-hander Andrew Heaney is considered close to the Majors, while third baseman Colin Moran, ranked No. 2 among the organization's prospects behind Heaney, saw only six at-bats with the big league club this spring.
The Royals named Yordano Ventura their No. 3 starter shortly after the 22-year-old right-hander tossed six scoreless innings against the Rangers on Monday night. MLB.com's No. 35 prospect was 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in three starts for Kansas City last September.