Acquired: NDFA 4/4/07
2010 Rank: 3
Why Ranked Here: Mejia has top of the rotation stuff, big league experience and will begin 2011 in Buffalo, just a few good starts and a MLB injury away from a return to the big leagues. VP of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Paul DePodesta called him a “stud” earlier this week.
He misses bats. He runs a great groundball rate.
Mejia’s arsenal starts with a special plus cut fastball that sits in the mid 90s. Mejia complements the cutter with a more conventional, straighter four-seamer, and a two-seam fastball a few miles per hours slower with a little sink. Commanding his fastball arsenal with precision would probably be enough for Mejia to survive and even thrive in a relief role. His hard changeup which sinks almost like a splitter is his second pitch. His hard-curveball is his third. Ever since I first saw him in Brooklyn he’s struggled to find a consistent release point on his breaking ball, but I’ve been told he made good progress in this area in AA in 2010.
Mejia still must improve his command with all of his pitches to be fully big league ready. He walked 4.6 batters/ 9 IP in the big leagues last year. If his command doesn’t improve enough to start, he could be limited to the bullpen where he could focus on fewer pitches and locating his fastball.
Coaches have been raving about Mejia’s work ethic and intelligence for years now. That hasn’t stopped.
2010: On Jerry Manuel’s insistence, the Mets foolishly started Jenrry Mejia in the major league bullpen in 2010. Hoping that a 20-year old, who had never had any success above advanced-A would help solidify the eighth inning role in the big leagues was a desperate decision by a man trying to save his job at all costs. It was a short-sighted move that cost Mejia some development time and didn’t really help the big league team.
Mejia lasted until June 20 on the big league roster when he was returned to double-A Binghamton where the Mets planned to have him return to starting. While he was doomed by his 17/15 strikeout to walk ratio in the big leagues, his 60% ground ball percentage was very strong. In order to return Mejia to the double-A starting rotation, the Mets chose to put him on an aggressive throwing schedule. The plan was for him to throw shorter outings every four days until he was up to 75 pitches then transition to a normal five-day starter’s schedule. However, after two outings for Binghamton at the end of June, Mejia came down with a sore shoulder that kept him on the disabled list until August.
When he returned in August, he was dominant in AA. In 24 innings, he struck out 21 and gave up just 15 hits. The only statistical blemish on his four starts in double-A was the 10 walks he allowed. He concluded his minor league time with a strong nine-strikeout performance in an August 30 start for triple-A Buffalo. After the triple-A season ended, the Mets brought Mejia back to the big leagues where he made three starts in September. The results weren’t pretty: 11.1 IP, 17 hits, and five walks against five strikeouts.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Top of the rotation starter
Debbie Downer Says: Gas out of the bullpen
Projected 2011 Start: Buffalo
MLB Arrival: Well, lets forget the 2010 bullpen experiment, ok? He’ll be back in 2011.
Fun Fact: Mejia used to play softball.