After being investigated for accuracy into his age and identity, New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia arrived in Florida last week to join the team for spring training. After his first outing today in Jupiter against the Miami Marlins, it may be safe to assume that he might have wished to stay in the Dominican Republic a little longer.
Mejia was roughed up in the first inning to the tune of five runs and a bad defensive play: not exactly what the Mets wanted to see. His stat line reads 1 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 H, 1 BB and 2 K. He threw 30 pitches and only 15 of them were for strikes.
Mejia worked out in the Dominican Republic at the Mets facility in Boca Chica while his identity was confirmed, and according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.com, “he said he was ready for his first Grapefruit League appearance. He threw at the Mets’ Dominican Republic academy before the visa situation was resolved.”
Evidently Mejia needs a bit more time to get adjusted with the Mets and will continue to work as a starter throughout the spring as well as when the season begins. My guess would be that he will get some time at Triple-A to prove he can be a viable starter, but his stats may show that he is a long way from being more than a back of the rotation player.
Last year, he appeared in three games as a starter and worked 13 innings with a 6.23 ERA, 7 SO and 9 BB–not exactly great numbers for a player trying to open some eyes and earn a roster spot.
I still believe Mejia would work better from the bullpen, but maybe the Mets believe if he can do well and improve in Las Vegas, then he can be used in a deal down the road for a piece they need: an outfielder. The one thing the Mets have plenty of are quality pitchers and Mejia would do well to hone his skills and continue to learn from these experiences.
No one expects any pitcher to come out in their first start and be lights out, but Mejia will be one starter that the Mets will look at very closely as the Grapefruit League moves on. Many more starts like this, however, means it will take Mejia quite some time to move back up to the MLB level.