Mets Shouldn’t Forget About Jenrry Mejia


Remember Jenrry Mejia?  He entered this season as the top Mets prospect (and certainly the team’s top pitching prospect) on several lists and began the year at triple-A Buffalo, seemingly poised to return to the big leagues at some point during the season.  Then Mejia underwent Tommy John surgery after just five starts and will be out of action probably until mid-way through next season.  During that time, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler have all strutted their stuff, moving them into the forefront of the Mets farm system.  However, don’t forget about Mejia.

Forgetting about his brief, ill-advised stint, Mejia has had a successful professional career at such a young age.  Over the course of 280.2 minor league innings, Mejia has allowed only 205 hits while striking out 271 batters and surrendering just eight home runs.  His arsenal includes a mid-90s fastball, which he cuts or can throw as a four-seamer, a sharp changeup and a fall-off-the-table curveball.  If he can command his pitches, they all have a chance to be plus offerings.

The key, of course, is his command, something Mejia has struggled with.  The Dominican native has a career minor league walk rate of 3.9, which is unsustainable unless you’re striking out ten batters a game (and even then, it is still troublesome).  His motion doesn’t always seem repeatable, but that’s something more time in the minors can hopefully solve.  For now, let’s take a look at how Mejia performed this past April before his injury.

Mejia threw 28.1 innings over five starts for Buffalo in 2011.  He allowed nine earned runs on sixteen hits and fourteen walks while punching out twenty-one and hitting two batters.  He was electric over his first two outings, yielding just seven hits and five walks with eleven strikeouts in twelve and two-third innings, before coming back down to earth.  During the small sample size, he didn’t quite strike out as many batters as he had in the past, but he still got outs and didn’t allow many hits, leading to some success.  It would’ve been interesting to see how Mejia’s walk and strikeout rates changed, if they would have at all, over the course of the season as both he and the hitters made adjustments.

For now, the focus for Mejia should be on getting healthy and just getting work in next season, with an eye towards either a September call-up or competing for a rotation spot in 2013.  Although he might now be ranked after Harvey, Familia and Wheeler on Mets prospect lists, the soon to be twenty-two year old has enough weapons and talent to make it in a Major League rotation with some more experience.  I, for one, can’t wait.

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