Wednesday, March 17, 2010

3/17 Jenrry Mejia Impressions

It was a short, six-pitch, outing for Mejia today. I had planned on a more extensive write-up but given how little I have to work with I will make this short and to the point.

Mejia was extremely impressive today, he threw five fastballs and a single breaking ball. His fastball was 92-95 with cutting action, making it easily a plus pitch. All of them were located well with the exception of his first pitch to Marco Scutaro that missed to down and to his glove-side.

The best contact made against him today came off the bat of Josh Reddick, who appeared to be sitting on a fastball and got one on the inside part of the plate. He hit it fairly hard but Mejia was able to get the pitch in on his hands enough to take most of Reddick's power away, resulting in a medium-velocity line drive right at the first baseman. Scutaro grounded out weakly to short on the second pitch of his at-bat which was also a fastball.

Perhaps the most impressive pitch Mejia threw on the day was the breaking ball to Cameron which also resulted in a weak grounder. It came in at 78 miles-per-hour (if you can trust NESN's radar gun, which actually seemed fairly accurate today) and had sharp downward bite. Although all the scouting reports I have seen say Mejia throws a slider, this looked more like a curve with slider velocity. Regardless of what it actually was, it was a plus pitch. Supposedly Mejia' changeup is his more advanced secondary option, but the one breaking ball I saw today was a Major League quality pitch.

If the Mets do want to use Mejia out of the bullpen in the majors this year, there is no doubt in my mind he is already the best option they have other than Francisco Rodriguez. However, doing so seems foolish to me. Mejia is only 20-years-old and should be sent to AA and continue to develop as a starter. The urge to put him in the pen to help in the short term is great, but look at what happened to Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees last year. The constant shifting of roles clearly had a negative impact on his development and the Mets would be wise to avoid subjecting Mejia to something similar.

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