Some of the best closers in New York Mets history excelled for multiple years with the club. Jenrry Mejia is the one-hit-wonder exception.
Major League Baseball officially adopted the save statistic at the beginning of the 1969 season. Since that time, 22 different New York Mets players have led the team in the important ninth-inning stat.
One name, in particular, stands out: Jenrry Mejia. Let’s take a look back at his oft-forgotten dominance in the 2014 campaign.
Mejia was a one-hit-wonder in every sense of the term. And it was an exciting one season. The prospect made his MLB debut earlier than some may remember.
His first taste of major league action came in 2010 when Mejia was just 20 years old. This made him the youngest player to make the opening day roster since the great Dwight Gooden.
After showing promise at the beginning of his career with the Mets, Mejia’s story took its first negative turn when a UCL tear cost him nearly all of the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He finally made his return 2013, where he appeared as a starter in all five of his appearances. Despite the limited action, he was able to record an impressive 2.30 ERA and 27 strikeouts.
Mejia entered his remarkable 2014 season by winning the spot as the team’s fifth starter. He started a total of seven games before manager Terry Collins elected to move him into the bullpen in an effort to correct his early-season struggles. He immediately excelled, taking over as the closer just a few weeks later.
The results were spectacular. Despite not taking over ninth inning duties until late May, Mejia was able to post an incredible 28 saves.
This is even more impressive considering that he was the pitcher on the mound at the end of just 49 total games. He ultimately went on to earn his 28 saves in just 31 opportunities with a 3.65 ERA and a career-high 98 strikeouts. Mets fans felt sure they had found their closer of the future.
These same fans are also likely familiar with the tragic downturn on Mejia’s career. While injury issues continued to pop up, it was ultimately another issue that led to his career demise. The budding star received an 80-game suspension in 2015 when he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
He was subsequently hit with a 162-game ban for a second positive test after just seven appearances with the team coming off his first suspension. He then received an indefinite ban from MLB after a third positive test for similar substances. This led to his release by the Mets in 2016.
While he was reinstated and given a brief stint in the Boston Red Sox farm system, Mejia has never been able to return to the major league level.
The now 30-year-old is currently signed with the Algodoneros de Unión Laguna of the Mexican League.
Despite the unfortunate downturn in his career, there is no denying the dominance of that magical 2014 season as a member of the Mets. His 28 saves still ranks as the 17th most in the history of the franchise.
While Mejia’s name is not found amongst the leaders in any other single season, there is no question that he provided one of the more exciting and improbable bursts in the history of Flushing bullpens.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Regardless of past transgressions, we wish him nothing but the best as he tries to salvage what was once a promising baseball career.