Jenrry Mejia, who turned heads in a brief stint in the rotation last season before bone chips in his elbow forced him to shut things down early, is already in Port St. Lucie preparing for the 2014 season.
Mejia, 24, regained his form last year after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery, and was spectacular for the Mets during the five starts he made in late July and August.
Mejia had a 2.30 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 27.1 innings pitched. He allowed 28 hits, walked 4, and struck out 27 (8.9 per 9).
Just as impressive as Mejia’s performance and the bite on his pitches was his mound presence. After being bounced back and forth from the pen to the rotation, Mejia looked like a different pitcher during his brief stint with the Mets last season.
Mejia knew about the bone chips in his elbow, but continued to pitch through the pain until he couldn’t continue. The surgery he had after being shut down was minor, and he’s not expected to have any ill effects heading into this season.
During a chat with fans yesterday, the Mets noted that Mejia is viewed as a starter, which is exactly what he should be viewed as.
Mejia will likely have a strict innings cap this year, but all the Mets need from him is a half season in the rotation. By the time Mejia reaches his innings limit, one or both of Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard will be ready to take his rotation spot.
Heading into spring training, Mejia should have a leg up on both Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom, and any potential pitcher the Mets bring in on a minor league deal.
Mejia, who is nearly seven months younger than Matt Harvey, was once viewed as one of the best pitching prospects in the game. Misuse and injury sidetracked him, but he showed last year that he has the potential to be a top of the rotation guy if his health cooperates.