Last season, Jenrry Mejia, a 24 year old starting pitcher with a special right arm, made five starts for the Mets and reminded everyone why he was so highly regarded before he dealt with injuries in 2011 and 2012.
Although Mejia’s season was cut short (he was pitching with bone spurs in his elbow that he knew would require minor surgery), he opened eyes with both his stuff (that had finally returned) and his great mound presence (that was new).
However, Mejia is being largely ignored by the Mets when discussions about the 2014 rotation come up. During his chat this afternoon on ESPN.com, Keith Law answered a question regarding what he’d expect from Mejia if he got a spot in the Mets’ 2014 rotation:
It’s #2 starter stuff if he can stay healthy. The problem is he’s never thrown 110 innings in a season.
The above may shed some light on why the Mets are hesitant to pencil Mejia in as an “answer” for 2014. At the same time, it also has a high regarded player evaluator cementing what we saw last year – Mejia can be a tremendous rotation piece.
Mejia was yanked back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation until last season, when finally appeared to put it all together – albeit briefly.
The Mets shouldn’t be penciling him in as a guarantee, but he should certainly be given the opportunity to win a spot in the rotation out of spring training.
The innings will be an issue, but if Mejia shows the same stuff during the spring that he showed last season in the bigs, he should be afforded every opportunity to continue to perform in the rotation. The Mets can worry about limiting his innings when the time comes.