Earlier this morning I posted a piece on Daisuke Matsuzaka most likely earning the number five spot in the rotation after a solid performance against the Nationals on Thursday and a glowing endorsement from his manager Terry Collins.
The biggest loser if Dice-K were to get that final rotation spot is none other than Jenrry Mejia who many initially projected for that fifth spot.
Chris McShane of Amazin Avenue did a nice job of arguing the case for Mejia, and like me, believes if the Mets are aiming for 90 wins this year—a lofty goal, even for the most optimistic—they’ll need to use the players who give them the best chance to win from the beginning of the season.
Mejia is no sure thing, especially when it comes to health, but with legitimate major league stuff, he was incredible in five starts for the Mets last summer. In 27.1 innings, Mejia had 28 strikeouts, just 4 walks, and he posted a 2.30 ERA and 2.46 FIP. Before that, he posted a 2.55 ERA in 24.2 innings of work in the minors on a rehab assignment. In total, it’s not enough data to establish Mejia as a front-of-the-rotation pitcher in the big leagues, but it’s not hard to see a high ceiling for the 24-year-old.
McShane does not ignore Mejia’s significant injury history which of course is always fair game with Mejia. But he also points out and elaborates on something I wrote myself in an earlier post.
If Mejia gets hurt again, that’s where Matsuzaka and Lannan would make sense for the Mets, as fill-ins for him or any other starting pitcher who might get hurt while the team awaits at least that one extra year of control before promoting Montero or Syndergaard. For now, putting Mejia in the starting rotation seems to be the perfect way to balance the Mets’ short- and long-term aspirations.
It’s tough to argue against a good argument. Take heed Mr. Collins and Mr. Alderson.
(Photo: Brad Barr, USA TODAY Sports)