Oliver Perez and Jenrry Mejia – A Tale Of Two Pitchers

An article by posted on December 12, 2010

As Oliver Perez continues to see his stock fall while pitching Winter Ball in the Mexican Winter League, young Jenrry Mejia is getting back in the swing of things and by all accounts is on the upswing.

Last night, Oliver Perez got shelled again while pitching for Los Tomateros de Culiacan. Perez allowed six runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings and raised his his ERA to 5.73 in 22 innings pitched.

There’s a growing segment of those who cover the Mets that believe Sandy Alderson will not cut Perez no matter how poorly he performs in Winter League. It is said that he will get a full spring training just like everyone else who is coming to camp.

Although. Alderson has said he has no fear in cutting a player, even one who is paid as highly as Perez, it remains to be seen. Some in the front office are even discussing Perez as a replacement for Pedro Feliciano in the bullpen. I don’t like the sound of that at all.

Meanwhile, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, reports that Jenrry Mejia pitched brilliantly on Friday in his second start for Licey of the Dominican Winter League.

Jenrry Mejia was solid in three innings, allowing two hits, one walk and four strikeouts, Friday night for the Licey Tigers in the Dominican Republic, in his second winter-ball start. The Mets’ top pitching prospect got ahead early in counts and mixed his fastball, which topped out at 96 mph, with his curveball and changeup.

Former Mets minor league instructor Guy Conti, who is the pitching coach for Licey, spoke glowingly about what he saw.

“I was very, very impressed with what he did tonight. He showed a major league curveball, a major league fastball and was poised,” said Conti outside the team’s clubhouse, which was closed to the media following a string of bad play by Licey. “I was very, very pleased with him. He’s made tremendous progress. I was really pleased with him. I’m impressed with Jenrry.”

According to recent statements by Sandy Alderson and even Terry Collins, the Mets plan to have Mejia pitch in the minors next season so he can develop further.

That said, we have heard those same things said about Bobby Parnell two years ago, but after an impressive spring training, Parnell came north with the team and was on the Opening Day roster.

Considering the Mets are short a couple of quality arms in the rotation, and that they are jostling with signing one of 2-3 pitchers who may or not even be 100% healthy, Mejia could make the team if he comes into camp and blows the Mets away with a dominating performance. They are already starting to stretch him out in the DR, so don’t count him out yet.

I will add one more thing where Mejia is concerned, and that is my hope he earns a spot in the rotation and not the bullpen. If he can do that, great, if not than send him to Buffalo where he will be on call at the first signs of trouble with the 2011 rotation.

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