Where did you come from? Where did you go? Where did you come from, Tylor Megill? This year’s New York Mets recipient of the Cotton Eye Joe Award, given annually and retroactively to Jeff McNeil in 2018, J.D. Davis in 2019, and David Peterson in 2020, has its winner for 2021.
Hopefully, you’re well aware of the origin of the namesake of this fictitious honor I’m bestowing upon Megill. If not, do you remember the 1990s at all? It was the resurgence of this classic American folksong redone in a modern way by a band with the most appropriate name, Rednex.
The basis, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is to award a Mets player who stepped up big when many didn’t think they’d have an important role with the team—or in Megill’s case, even see big league action at all.
Mets pitcher Tylor Megill came from out of nowhere
Although the song’s lyrics do ask “where did you come from?” before then questioning “where did you go?” it does all come back around to once again asking where Cotton Eye Joe came from. This is precisely what I wonder about Megill. He wasn’t on my radar at all when the season began.
An eighth-round pick from 2018, Megill has done nothing but pitch well as a professional. In 2018, working as a starter and reliever, he had a 3.21 ERA in 28 innings of work.
This was followed up with a 3.52 ERA in 2019 in 71.2 innings. Megill managed to climb as high as Double-A in a year where he yet again saw action pitching from the first inning onward and making appearances out of the bullpen.
2020 was a lost year for many of us in multiple ways. For Megill’s progress, it didn’t seem to stall him much.
This year, Megill managed to catch the attention of the Mets front office. In 40.1 innings of work across eight minor leagues starts, Megill was 2-1 with a 3.35 ERA. Good but not great, he was awarded a chance to compete at the highest level in the world. While not overpowering, Megill has been more consistent than most rookie starting pitchers you’ll find around the league—especially ones few had viewed as viable big league starters in the coming months.
Although there is no trophy, official record, or even an ounce of respect for the Cotton Eye Joe Award Megill is about to receive in a completely hypothetical sense, he serves as a fine reminder of why baseball can be special.
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We all think we can predict what the outcome of the season will be. We have a good idea of the major players, who will perform well, and which teams will compete. Then comes a guy like Megill that humbles us. Sometimes we do have to look back and ask those important 1990s Swedish Eurodance questions.