Jenrry Mejia is the Mets’ preferred choice to break camp as the team’s fifth starter. According to Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger, as long as Mejia is healthy, he should break camp when the team heads north at the end of March. Writes Castillo:
In recent weeks, the Mets have brought in veteran competition for the final spot in their rotation, signing John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka to minor league deals with invites to spring training. But if spring training goes the Mets’ way, neither veteran will break camp as the club’s No. 5 starter. Instead, Jenrry Mejía, once the organization’s prized prospect, will have shown enough to earn the position and join the growing cast of young arms in the majors.
Mejia, who had minor surgery last August to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow, is on track health-wise. He is currently long-tossing, and should be ready to roll when pitchers and catchers report to spring training 12 days.
Mejia, 24, was terrific during his brief stint in the rotation for the Mets last season, posting a 2.30 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He also exhibited tremendous mound presence, something that had been missing in his other big league stints.
Spring training competition is really an oxymoron.
While younger players and players with something to prove use exhibition games as a means to impress, the competition they’re going up against make spring training stats pretty much worthless.
If Jenrry Mejia posts a 4.00 ERA during the spring, and both John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka post ERA’s that are better, Mejia shouldn’t lose out. That would be absurd.
Rather, Mejia’s “competition” should simply be proving that he’s healthy and that his pitches have the same bite they had late last season. That’s all that should matter.
Mejia will have an innings limit this year. However, he can be replaced in the rotation during the summer if/when he reaches that limit. The Mets should have Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard both ready to step in by then.