New York Mets News

Jenrry Mejia: Mets Season in Review

By Will DeBoer

Hide the weasels and call the (other) MET, it’s time to start stomping! Our Mets 2014 Season in Review continues with the Jheri-curled showman, Jenrry Mejia.

After starting the season at the back end of the rotation, Mejia found new life in the bullpen, reinventing himself as New York’s definitive closer.

Sep 12, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia (58) pitches against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at Citi Field. The Mets won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

How He Fared in 2014:

Mejia gave the Mets their first win of 2014 with six brilliant innings against the Reds on April 4, and after a rough outing in Atlanta he righted the ship with scoreless wins against Arizona and St. Louis. The next three starts were a different story, as Jenrry got shelled twice and couldn’t get out of the fifth inning twice. In seven starts through early May, Mejia’s record stood at 3-0 but with an unimpressive 5.06 ERA and 1.580 WHIP, averaging a mere five and one third innings per outing.

At this point, with Rafael Montero waiting in the wings and massive holes in the bullpen to plug, Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson decided to convert Mejia to a relief pitcher. With Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth failing to inspire confidence in the ninth inning, the question immediately after became when, not if, Jenrry would get his shot as closer. When asked by yours truly a few days after the move, even Jon Stewart of The Daily Show felt Mejia should be on the job.

Mejia made his bullpen debut at Yankee Stadium on May 12, picking up the win with a scoreless inning and a third. He earned his first save five days later in Washington. Farnsworth and Valverde were quickly deposed, and Jenrry never looked back.

When the dust settled from his many stomps, Mejia had saved 28 games, the most for a Mets closer since Francisco Rodriguez in 2009. He only blew three save chances during the season, posting a 2.72 ERA as a reliever with 60 strikeouts in just over 56 innings.

Areas to Improve On:

Jenrry emulated K-Rod in more ways than one, walking a tightrope during many of his ninth innings. He struggled with putting runners on base; his reliever WHIP was 1.420 and converted 1-2-3 saves just 10 times. Not exactly Eric Gagne circa 2003 smooth. Mejia is an effective closer, but 2015 must be the time that he becomes a lockdown closer. If only for the sake of Mets fans’ heart rates.

Sep 2, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia (58) celebrates their 8-6 win over the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Role in 2015:

Closer. He won’t be without stiff competition from Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, and Bobby Parnell, and any prolonged slump will likely be his ouster, but Jenrry Mejia has earned the right to begin 2015 as the Mets’ ninth inning guy. It wasn’t always pretty in 2014, but he got the job done on a consistent basis. The increased competition should only make him grow as a closer; certainly with his ceiling he could be an elite finisher.

Contract Status and Trade Rumors

Mejia is now eligible for arbitration, so he will likely see a bump in his salary from the half-million he saw in 2014. He won’t become a free agent until 2019, which makes him valuable to the Mets on the field or on the trade market. He has high current value and a history of injury, which may make Sandy Alderson willing to deal Mejia now more than ever.

Aug 26, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia (58) high fives New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson (3) after closing the game against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. The Mets defeated the Braves 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports