By now you all know my stance on simply handing 20-year old Mejia a bullpen spot, especially when it means passing on one of Hisanori Takahashi, Kiko Calero, Nelson Figueroa or even Fernando Nieve who are all performing better than him.
I won’t bore you with my theories on how this same experiment didn’t work for Bobby Parnell last spring training, and how now Parnell ultimately gets sent back to the minors to improve his secondary pitches and losing an entire year of development in the process. Hopefully, he can recover and still one day be a middle of the rotation starter for the Mets, but who knows at this point…
My case against Mejia is simple. As I’ve stated time and time again, Mejia failed to impress in Class-AA Binghamton last season. In fact, you could say he hit a brick wall and couldn’t throw any of his secondary pitches for strikes. Here are his statistics:
Yesterday, it was time for Jenrry Mejia to start unleashing some of the other pitches in his arsenal as the Mets attempt to make a determionation on where Mejia begins the season. Up until now, we’ve all been dazzled by his electric fastball this spring, but now that he’s being strongly considered for a role in the bullpen, the Mets need to evaluate two things before coming to a final decision.
#1 - What else does he have besides a fastball with amazing cutting action, and can he throw those pitches for strikes?
#2 – How well will he respond working on consecutive days for the first time in his young professional career?
Yesterday, the Mets got a first hand look at his secondary offerings and his inability to command them in a loss against the Minnesota Twins was quite apparent.
Today, they will find out how he responds to back-to-back appearances when he gets an inning against the Cardinals in Jupiter.
Mejia looked much like the pitcher we saw in Binghamton last season, against the Twins, after coming into the ninth inning and giving up a leadoff single. That was followed by a stolen base, a four-pitch walk, and a wild pitch to score a run before finally getting out of the inning.
What was most familiar, especially if you’re a die-hard Mets fan, was seeing how Mejia completely came off of his game after the single and stolen base. We’ve seen this before with some of our other pitchers who were also rushed to the majors in Pelfrey and Parnell. We’ve also seen how difficult a task it becomes for our young pitchers to throw from the stretch.
Learning how to deliver your offerings from both the wind-up and the stretch is something that for many is mastered in the higher levels of the minor leagues, and your effectiveness can only come from experience and repetition. This was Mejia’s problem in Double-A and it’s obviously still a problem today.
I’m hoping that Mejia allows a baserunner to leadoff the game today, if only so you can tune in and see the transformation for yourselves. Watch his countenance and body language.
And hopefully Jerry Manuel will be paying close attention too…
Maybe then, he can finally come to his senses and send Mejia back to Double-A for some much needed seasoning and not let him squander an entire year of development like they did with Bobby Parnell who completely abandoned most of his secondary pitches working out of the bullpen where he basically became a two-pitch pitcher.
Back to the drawing board for Parnell, and back to Binghamton for Mejia…