MMO Mets Top 20 Prospects – #4 Jenrry Mejia, RHP

When the Mets signed RHP Jenrry Mejia as an IFA out of the Dominican Republic, in 2007, they knew they were getting a diminutive 17-year-old, with an electric fastball. He was brought along slowly with his innings pitched, so as not to damage this tender young thoroughbred. He needed to be babied, while his body filled out, not rushed as was the custom for the Tony Bernazard led Mets minor league system of those days.

He pitched 43 innings that first summer, in the DSL, as a 17-year-old. He was increased to 72 innings as an 18-year-old, in 2008. He at first over-matched GCL hitting for three starts before landing in Brooklyn for 11 starts, where I was able to see him pitch in person. I liked what I saw, a skinny kid with a sizzling fastball, and the makings of a stellar curve.

As a 19-year-old, in 2009, he was radically challenged by being sent first to the advanced A, Florida State League to play with St. Lucie. There he did more than merely hold his own against a league averaging players who were 22-23 years old. In 50 innings at St. Lucie he went 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA in 9 starts. He was then rushed up to AA Binghamton at mid-season. This was a big mistake. This was the first time the Mets blew it with this kid. I mean what did they expect anyway? That they could just keep throwing him out there with older and older players, and that they weren’t going to catch up to him eventually? What they did to this kid was just awful.

He could have had a wonderful season if they had let him have another ten starts in St. Lucie but when they tossed him to the Eastern League, AA (average player age: 24 years), the sharks smelled blood in the water, and he was eaten alive. His first exposure to AA, he went 0-5 with a 4.47 ERA in ten starts. He threw 44 additional innings which got him up to 94 for the season. So there you have it: 3 minor league seasons, 210 professional innings. He hit a wall at AA as a 19-year-old. The smart move would have been to start him out in St. Lucie in 2010, and have him pitch 125 innings that year. But the Mets were not smart, not even a little bit.

So what did they do? In all their infinite wisdom? They blew it with this kid for the second time, that’s what. Omar let a desperate, silly man, a man who was hanging by a thread, and about to be fired any second, talk him into ruining Top Pitching Prospect RHP Jenrry Mejia. Omar let that moronic dolt, that home-spun stupid, that complete idiot, Jerry Manuel, have Jenrry Mejia as a little “gift” for his 2010 bullpen. Kinda like putting a shiny “hood ornament” on your old piece of crap, lime green, AMC Gremlin. Well Jerry got his bumbling hands all over the poor kid.

And guess what? It turned out not to be too good a move, and any Mets fan could have told you that at the time, because Jerry Manuel is so stupid that he could ruin a promising young arm as good, or better than anybody. And he did. He had no idea when to use Mejia, or how to use him, and by the time they sent him to the minors after two months of abuse at the hands of Manuel, it was too late. His elbow was in need of total reconstruction. TJS baby.

Okay so the Mets ruined his 2010 season due to selfish incompetence. And his 2011 season is gone too, so what. He was only our top prospect. At least he had the surgery and it went well, and barring any setbacks, maybe he’ll be competing for a big league role by 2013 or 2014. I think the biggest question at this point is not if Mejia will be able to throw as hard as he did before. There is no reason why he won’t be able to throw harder. The question is, can the Mets keep their stupid mitts off him long enough to let him recover and develop, without endangering his arm again?

I just flipped a coin and it was heads which tells me, yes, they will let the kid develop at his own rate. So it is without further ado, that I announce RHP Jenrry Mejia as the MMO 2012 Mets #4 Prospect. I hope they don’t pull the plug on him as a starter, there is no reason why he can’t start. They just need to build up his strength correctly, over time, utilizing proper mechanics. If they can develop him into a starting pitcher he is much more valuable, and if they can’t they can always move him to the bullpen later.

Check back on Thursday when we unveil the #3 ranked player on our list!

2012 MMO Top 20 Prospects

4.   Jenrry Mejia                 OF

5.   Brandon Nimmo          OF

6.   Kirk Nieuwenhuis         OF

7.   Juan Lagares               OF

8.   Wilmer Flores              INF

9.   Cesar Puello                RF

10.  Reese Havens             2B

11.  Cory Mazzoni             RHP

12.  Jordany Valdespin      INF

13.  Darin Gorski               LHP

14.  Phillip Evans              SS

15.  Jefry Marte                  3B

16.  Collin McHugh           RHP

17.  Juan Urbina               LHP

18.  Akeel Morris              RHP

19.  Michael Fulmer          RHP

20.  Danny Muno               INF