Now if you just look at the boxscore, Mejia's line would tell you he was pretty much in control of the game: 6 2/3 IP, 4 hits, 0 er, 3 bb, 5 K. When I looked back at his start, I came up with my own observations on Mejia's outing, and he was good but not great.
- Mejia threw 101 total pitches; 64 strikes and 37 balls. That is a strike % of 63%. MLB average is 62%.
- Of the 28 batters he faced, Mejia threw only 12 first pitch strikes or 43%. MLB average (starters) is around 60%. Of all ML qualifiers in 2010, starters only, Gio Gonzalez had the lowest 1st pitch strike % at 52.9%.
- Mejia threw 69 FB- 44 strikes & 25 balls (64 % strikes); 24 CB- 13 strikes & 11 balls (54% strikes); 8 change-ups, 8 strikes (100% strikes)
- Of the 20 ball put in play, 14 were weakly hit & 6 were hard hit. He induced eight groundouts and 5 fly outs.
- Mejia got six swings and misses; 4 on change-ups, 1 on a CB, and 1 on a FB.
Conclusion: There was no velocity readings on the broadcast, but opposing hitters were continually late on Mejia's fastball. Mejia was working behind hitters most of the night. His fastball had hard sinking and cutting action, which made it tough for hitters to square up. Commentators mistakenly called some of Mejia's fastballs sliders, due to the movement he creates. Mejia's fastball missed up in the zone pretty much all night. It was a cold night, so having a good feel for the ball could be an issue in terms of commanding the baseball.
His change-up was easily his best swing and miss offering, as he had good arm action to go with late sink. His curveball was very good at times, but Mejia needs to find a more consistent release point to command it better. Mejia creates a 12-6 break with his curveball, and is a very good compliment to his other two offerings due to a big difference in velocity.
Clearly his overall stuff was good enough against a AAA lineup to work behind in the count most of the time. Mejia still needs to refine his command of his fastball, as this the most important trait for any pitcher (just google importance of fastball command). When commanded down in the zone, his fastball is lethal, getting groundball after groundball. He will get hurt in the big leagues if he gets behind hitters on a consistent basis, as well as living up in the zone.
Scranton had scored 29 runs in the four games prior to metting Mr. Mejia. Scranton outfielder Brandon Laird had this to say about Mejia: "I had a chance to play with him [Mejia] a few years ago in the Arizona Fall League. Luckily, he was on my team. You've just got to look for mistakes, but he made some really good pitches."
While Mejia has yet to yield a run so far this season, he still has much work to do while down in Buffalo. His overall stuff is superior to his competition so far this season, as he has held batters to a .156 average. Success breads confidence, so Mejia's success is a critical part of his development.