Why isn’t anyone taking a serious look at Jeremy Hefner? He put up far better numbers than Mejia last season.
Count me among those who don’t believe Hefner received an entirely fair shake last year — such is life for an unproven pitcher without the “prospect” pedigree. Many of the rookie’s starts came on short notice or odd amounts of rest, hindering his ability to prepare. Yet outside his seven-run debacle against the Phillies in late September, which did come on regular rest, he proved to be a solid spot starter.
But pedigree matters when doling out opportunities, and unlike Mejia, Hefner has never earned scouting acclaim for sensational stuff or velocity. His Minor League track record is far from notable.
Hefner has proven that he can hold his own at the game’s highest level, which is important. And if the Mets change course and do not sign a free-agent fifth starter, he will certainly have an opportunity to battle Mejia and others for the job come spring. But barring some sudden improvement, he profiles as exactly the type of player he was last season: a spot starter or long reliever who, due to the nature of his job, will always be looking to adjust on the fly.
Anthony DiComo, Mets.com
Hefner was claimed off waivers last season from the Pittsburgh Pirates. What I found interesting about the former Padres 5th round selection in 2007 had nothing to do with his performance. Hefner was drafted by the Mets twice; once in 2004 and again in 2005, though he opted to stay in school both times. So here we have a player that five different GMs all liked and tried to acquire, including three different Mets GMs. When’s the last time that ever happened?
Hefner was certainly one of the more underrated players last season and he did a decent job filling various roles for the Mets out of the bullpen and as a spot starter. He showed enough to warrant a long look this spring for a spot in the bullpen.