Mejia Has His Sights on 5th Rotation Spot

jenrry mejia 2

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that Jenrry Mejia’s preferred role on this team is in the starting rotation:

“You ask me that every year, and I always tell you starter. I like starter. Always.”

He acknowledges that the fifth spot in the rotation is up for grabs but he is ready for the challenge:

“I’ll be ready to be there. Whatever they want me to do, that’s what I have to do. But I want to be in the fifth spot. They’ve got to let me know.”

Mejia arrived in Port St. Lucie two weeks after New Years to start working and eventually returned to Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic to continue his offseason routine. He arrived in St. Lucie on February 2nd. Mejia had this to say when asked why he arrived so early:

“Because they want me here.”

Good answer.

Already with two bullpen sessions under his belt, Rubin reports that Mejia is feeling good after the procedure to remove bone spurs from his elbow in late August. In fact, he Mejia also said he’s been feeling good after only three weeks post-surgery. He is scheduled to throw another 25-30 pitch bullpen session on Wednesday.

Mejia was told by doctors that he would have to undergo the surgery at the end of the season by he opted to pitch through it anyway.

Before going down with the injury mid-start last season, Mejia registered 21 ⅓ fantastic innings with a 2.30 ERA and 27:4 K:BB ratio.

Mejia looks to be the early favorite for the fifth spot but he’ll have to prove himself against the likes of John Lannan, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Rafael Montero, and Jacob deGrom.

It should be a very exciting competition to watch. Good luck, Jenrry..

(Photo USA Today)

Presented By Diehards

  • Fast Eddie

    Jenrry Mejia was a very pleasant surprise last season, especially because he was pitching with a sore elbow. Let’s all hope that his arm woes are finally behind him and that Mejia will be able to give the Mets a consistent six or seven innings with each start. I think of him as Dillon Gee with a better fastball. Not bad at all.

    Veloz

  • Dark HelMet

    He’s gonna be our #5 but pitch like our #1.

  • Biggle Boy

    When Mejia is healthy he’s lights out. But will he be healthy? He’s thrown only 43 innings at the ML level over the past 2 years. But we should have depth at #5, especially with Montero being available by June.

  • Scottydoeskno328

    That would be awesome and I can definitely see him doing that.

  • chago

    Just like Matz needs to stay healthy the rest will take care of itself.

  • mets4lyfe

    The point of assigning those arbitrary #1,#2, etc. labels to a pitcher is so frivolous. Mejia, if healthy, will most likely be the team’s best pitcher even though he’d be the “#5” starter. Mejia just needs to stay healthy and display the type of command that he showed last year with his cutter, slider, split-changeup, and straight changeup. I’m just salivating at the thought of him displaying that type of arsenal again in 2014.

  • BehindTheBag

    This team is in great shape if Mejia wins that job. He’s got such a high ceiling, I’d love to see what he can do in 30 starts in the back end of our rotation.

    Assuming he faces mostly #4’s and #5’s, that’s a lot of games where we’ll have a distinct pitching advantage before the first pitch is thrown.

    That, plus a little growth and a full season from Wheeler, could more than off-set what we’ll miss from Harvey. Take nothing away from Harvey, he was incredible. But these two have the potential to make us a lot more competitive in a lot greater number of games than Harvey pitched last year.

  • Jonathan Calaso

    Don’t get why most rather him start then be in the bullpen… Yes he has been good when he’s healthy but I think it’s pretty obvious he will never hold up 200 innings, probably be lucky to get 100, not hating, I think he’s filty, add to that we have an abundance of SP in the majors and minors and could really use a dominant arm in the pen with Parnell a big ?… Would love if mejia stated and dominated all year but I’m being a realist and saying he belongs dominating the 8th inn if not closing.

  • BCleveland3381

    Mejia is so good, but just hasn’t been durable. If he gets hurt again this season and misses significant time, I really wonder where he stands with this franchise next season.

  • BCleveland3381

    I think starting pitching is actually better on the arm than being a reliever, especially with a guy like Collins who wears out arms. At least starters have a set throwing regiment every 5 days. They pitch, rest, have their throw day, pitch. Relievers are up warming up and sitting down over and over. I think that can be rough on arms as well.

  • Jonathan Calaso

    Put him in the pen

  • Jonathan Calaso

    Absolutely,the pen isn’t easy on a arm at all, but I think that he has more of a shot to make it that way then him going out there every 5th day throwin 100 pitches a gm,can’t abuse him in the pen but I’d take him pitching an inn every other day for the next 7 yrs then him starting 7 gms and going down again

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    They rather start cause starters get on average more money than bulpen guys

  • Jonathan Calaso

    What your saying is true, I’m just saying looking at this guys history I think he has a better shot at making it in the pen the next 10 yrs then him starting, he won’t last

  • Jonathan Calaso

    I hear you he rather start but if he can’t stay healthy he isn’t getting any money

  • Mets2014

    I wonder what kind of innings limit mejia is going to be on this year?

  • Waz0787

    Dice k!!!!!

  • Dark HelMet

    He’s healthy. Bone spurts isn’t a big deal.

  • Rocky Thompson

    It is not really a competition for the 5th starting spot. If Mejia stays healthy and pitches close to what he showed last season with the Mets it is his job. The 5th starter role is good for him with his injury history and an innings limit. As a 5th starter, they may skip some of his starts early in the season and keep him on a pitch count. Getting 5 or 6 innings out of a 5th starter is good. Getting 5 or 6 innings out of a 1st or 2nd starter will burnout the bullpen.

  • God I hope not and that you’re kidding

  • KennyandtheMets

    Not if Mejia is healthy.

  • KennyandtheMets

    I hope he can keep that elbow healthy!! If he can, he has more than enough stuff to be a strong starter.

  • metsaholic

    He was pitching with elbow discomfort last year, and was the most fun to watch pitch after Harvey. If he is healthy, he might be the ace of the staff this year. It should be his job to lose.

  • Waz0787

    Dice k was turning things around plus watching him Maybe be painful but again he was a stud coming out of japan hoping he gets his act together as a met.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I think that Meija will be our 5th starter, barring any injury.

  • Destry

    I love Mejia. He has some nasty stuff. Hope this kid can stay healthy. I don’t see him throwing more than 75-100 IF he stays healthy. I think he threw about 50 last year, and has never thrown more than 108 in ANY season. Hopefully he can pitch enough innings to get us to Montero or Syndergaard in June.

  • Destry

    100 max

  • Destry

    Just thinking outside the box here, but at some point with all the young pitchers being on a pitch count, I wonder why they wouldn’t consider starting the season with Dice K, and shutting Mejia down until the All-Star Break and letting him pitch the second half of the season? What are we gonna do if we are in the race and Montero(175), Wheeler(190), Syndergaard(150), Mejia(100) all hit their innings limit, and Gee or Niese hits the DL?

    Syndergaard and Montero will most likely pitch 75 innings in AAA

  • metsman

    I have a feeling this is going to be one of those screwy years where everything we thought about this rotation gets turned on its head, but I’m calling it right now: Mejia is the ace of this years staff if he stays healthy.

  • metsman

    People can down vote this all they want but you’re right, should we wait until his arm falls off to reconsider his role? He was an amazing starter last season and he’s got one more chance to prove he can stay healthy for any length of time in that roll; bottom line is that I’d rather have him in the pen than not at all.

  • BarnRat

    I could see a 6 man rotation for at least the second half of the season. We have a terrific collection of young pitchers, but not an abundance of innings. I’d rather see a 6 man scenario than stashing the talent in Vegas and using up their innings there.

  • metsman

    The question is does shutting him down solve anything, or prolong the inevitable? Still I like your idea and it probably is a realistic option that has been floated.
    I hate to say it, but perhaps this is one of those cases were his stature does dictate his role as a reliever, I really hope that’s not the case because he had a start last season (forget which one) where he had hitters shaking their heads in disbelief. Maybe he just needed to work the kinks out first before he takes the league by storm.

  • gameball

    I like Mejia and I hope he gets a chance to crack the rotation this year, but he’s not yet pitched 100 innings in any season as a pro. Best case scenario is he makes 20 or so starts and wins 10-12 games—that would be a huge breakthrough season for him.

  • metsman

    I’m not saying your wrong but you realize you’re contradicting what is considered conventional wisdom in both scouting and sports medicine? Smaller/shorter pitchers require more torque to make up for less leverage so each pitch in a single outing has a larger impact on the affected
    anatomy. Even with a day in between, the inflammation lessens, lactic acid breaks down etc.. I am not a fan of seeing player’s futures through the prism of generalizations, but Calaso has a point that’s backed up by recent history in the sport. I don’t want to lose Mejia as a starter but if he is injured again this year, I’ll bet all the tea in China he ends up in the pen, which would negate your case that it is more detrimental to a pitcher’s health.

  • Rocky Thompson

    No way is Mejia being shut down until the All-Star Break. What if he comes back, pulls rib cage muscle and is out for 2 months. You have wasted a year. If Mejia hits his innings limit at the all star break and needs to be shut down, that is good problem.
    With regard to Syndergaard, I can see them limiting his innings in the minors by going with a six man rotation and by pulling him out of games after 5 innings, even if he is pitching well.

  • BarnRat

    Yes. As I sort of commented below, we need to move away from an orientation of innings limits per pitcher to a focus on innings for the staff as a whole. I’d much rather see Mejia, Montero, Thor splitting time than the veteran alternatives.

  • Rocky Thompson

    Not sure they would go with the 6 man rotation on the big league level, but I can see a rotation of Montero, Syndergaard, de Grom, Dice-K, Lannan and Goeddel or Gorski at AAA.

  • BarnRat

    OK, anything that saves innings seems rational to me (if we’re serious about games that count in the back half).

  • CJM

    I think the key is to build from the ground up. He already had an extended break by being shut down early last year for the surgery. Keeping him off the mound until the all star break will be almost a year without action. If he is going to be injury prone his whole career, that’s what he’ll be and they’ll need to get him to pitch well from the pen. But now the key is to try to build up his innings consistently so he acclimates to the workload. I don’t think keeping him shut down until the ASB will help his consistency.

  • CJM

    100-120 good innings for Mejia is what I’d like to see, as I’m sure all fans would. I imagine 120 would be the absolute max they’d be willing to throw him this year.

  • CJM

    I don’t think a 6 man rotation is the worst idea if the team were truly thinking about competing this year. They’d be able to keep their young guys in the rotation longer and still have 6 presumably quality guys starting games. But in terms of development, it seems more important to have Wheeler and the other young guys pitching once every 5th game because that’s what they’ll most likely be doing in ’15 and beyond.

  • nutsacjac

    if dice k is in your rotation you dont have to worry about being in any race

  • chad

    he pitched a couple of decent games in sept against September call ups. he’s done

  • It’s amazing to think he’s only now going into his age-24 season. Kid has been around forever. While I am all for competition and letting the best man win. I’m rooting for Mejia because out of all the candidates…Lannan, Matsuzaka, deGrom, and Montero…he has the best chance to dominate from the get-go because of his stuff a rediscovered moxie late last season.

  • sperry

    You know this never really occurred to me, but these innings limits could pose a huge problem should we actually be successful this season.

    Now that I’m thinking about it we couldn’t technically use Noah in the playoffs until what, 2016? What a joke.

  • Destry

    I didn’t necessarily mean Mejia. In fact, he would probably be the worst one to shut down, but maybe start Syndergaard & Montero a month later than usual so they don’t use up all their innings in AAA. Let them sit in April, and pitch in Vegas for May and June, and then they could pitch the 2nd half in NY

  • Destry

    Mejia was a bad example, but Wheeler, Mejia, Syndergaard & Montero will all be on innings limits. Niese is only good for about 175 max, and I seriously doubt Colon gets 200. Gee will most likely throw the most innings. We may actually have to trade for a SP at the trade deadline if we are in the race. Seems odd with our abundance of arms.

  • Destry

    Maybe if we have Wheeler & Mejia be our 4th & 5th starters, then we can stretch them a little longer into the season, and maybe go with a 6 man at AAA with Montero & Thor being our 5th & 6th starters so they don’t eat up all of their innings in Vegas, but it will become a problem at some point in the year. Especially if there is an injury to Colon, Niese or Gee

  • Destry

    Yeah me too. It something to think about. I would hate to have to trade for a SP at the deadline when we have so much pitching. Seems like we could spread it out somehow.

  • DrDooby

    Wheeler should be good to go about 200 IP if healthy & productive. There won´t be any restrictions for Niese, Gee or Colon – other than their bodies breaking down.
    Montero & DeGrom should be capped at about 185 innings if all goes well, which should keep them busy for most of the year.
    Syndergaard won´t be allowed to exceed more than 155 IP or 160 max. So we won´t see him starting games in September.

    I believe Mejia will be a special case with his very uneven track record. It might be best looking to take what you can get from him and for however long it lasts. While he has yet to top 110 innings in a season, I don´t think there´ll be a hard cap on him.

    It does seem probable that the Mets may eventually go with a 6-man rotation to keep fragile arms in better shape and to keep overall innings down. Jon Niese had his best stretch of games in 2012 when he was essentially put on a 5-days-rest in the 2nd half of 2012 in almost all of his starts.

    It helps to explain why the Mets haven´t gone out all the way to turn the 2014 team into a legit playoff contender besides finances. What good does it do to be in deep playoff contention when key starts in late September have to be made by Jeremy Hefner (should be back from TJ surgery then) and Dice K Matsuzaka ?

    By 2015, there shouldn´t be any significant IP limits on any of the young arms, except possibly Syndergaard who figures to be capped at 190. Everyone else should be good to go as long as the body plays along…That´s why 2015 is the season where playoff games should be expected. Still, 2014 is a very step towards that goal. Contending in September, somewhat similar to 1984, 1997 and 2005 among more recent “turnaround” years.

  • vigouge

    There’s no real need to worry about potential innings limits enough to significantly alter a players work throughout the season especially when it’s to protect against a unlikely event.

    With these younger pitchers it’s more important to get them on the right regimen because you never know how things are going to shake out. Someone could start sucking or get injured or any number of factors that would render pitching in late september moot regardless of the teams record.

  • vigouge

    That would only save one start unless you’re talking about skipping their turn occasionally which isn’t the worst thing in the world but it’s not real preferable.

  • RyanF55

    I can’t wait to watch these young guys pitch this year. Think about an August/September of possibly Wheeler, Syndergaard, Montero and Mejia in the rotation. The pitching will at least be fun to watch if the offense doesn’t sort itself out.

  • Dark HelMet

    Huh?