Height/Weight: 6’0”, 162 lbs
Acquired: NDFA (4/4/07)
Born: 10/11/89 (Azua, DR)
Why Ranked Here: A very late comer to baseball, Mejia brings a special fastball. Virtually unknown entering 2008, the broad chested and big shouldered Mejia introduced himself with a 93-95 mph heater that easily allowed him to conquer the GCL and then New York Penn League. His second pitch is a hard changeup with a little sink at 87-88 mph, an offering with the same velocity as some of his teammates’ fastballs. It’s just enough off his fastball to catch hitters out in front and induce lots of groundballs. His curve is his third pitch. In the NYP, he struggled to find his release spot at times, but when found his release, he snapped off a short tight bender that showed plus potential. There’s some effort in his delivery, raising concerns about command down the road and a risk of injury. However, given his age (20 in October 2009) and experience (slight) his command is ahead of where one might expect it. The Mets’ staff raved about Mejia’s work ethic and intelligence.
2008: Mejia made clear with three dominating starts in the GCL that the rookie league simply did not provide enough challenge for him. Promoted to Brooklyn in the first week of July, Mejia walked a season-high five batters in his first NYP League start and 11 batters in his first 18 innings (5.5 BB/9). In his final 38.2 IP in the league he walked just 12 batters (2.8 BB/9). That’s an impressive adjustment for a very young pitcher. When he reached the NYP, he tried to pitch with his curveball instead of his changeup as his second pitch. Once he returned to his change as his second offering, he threw more strikes and worked himself into better counts. Also, his curve improved over the course of the summer.
Dr. Pangloss Says: A #2 starter’s job is hardly out of the question in a few years. Failing that, Mejia’s fastball should carry him to some type of bullpen role.
On the Flipside: All of the usual caveats (injury, unpredictability) about very young pitchers apply here, and Mejia’s effort in his delivery might give a nay-sayer reason to worry.
Projected 2009 Start: Savannah rotation. St. Lucie is a possibility, but given Mejia’s age, and the number of older, other slightly more experienced arms fighting for time in the FSL, I see no reason to push Mejia to advanced-A yet.