Though the San Francisco Giants are currently struggling with their lack of major league-ready starting pitchers, they have great things to look forward to as there is a stockpile of young arms currently in the lower levels of the minors. One of those pitchers is Adalberto Mejia, a left-hander currently pitching for the Class-A San Jose Giants.
Mejia, who celebrated his 20th birthday on June 20, certainly has shown flashes of potential during his young career. He made his debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2011 and was fantastic, giving up only 12 earned runs over 76 innings. In addition, he posted a dominant 0.87 WHIP. With this incredible success, Mejia made an unprecedented jump all the way up to the Class-A South Atlantic League last year and pitched for the Augusta GreenJackets. Though he struggled mightily early in the season, he rebounded in the second half and reasserted himself.
Mejia was ranked the No. 18 prospect in the Giants system by MLB.com prior to this season. He moved up to High-A San Jose, and he has performed well to this point. He missed a large chunk of both May and June with a lat strain, but has been solid while throwing rather limited innings. Though his ERA is a bit inflated and currently sits at a 4.01, he is holding hitters to a .190 average this year.
While he doesn’t have spectacular velocity or strikeout totals, Mejia has an advantage in that he already has the skills that could enable him to have a long, effective major league career. He’s said to have a very good sinking fastball and slider that will deceive hitters, and he is working on a change-up as well.
A quick glance at the lefty’s minor league stats show that he has potential. He’s only given up seven home runs over 211 innings, and has had great command, averaging 1.7 walks per nine innings. If he can continue to be this efficient and develop his breaking pitches, he definitely has a chance to be a quality big-league starter. And since he is barely a week over 20 years old, he has all the time in the world to grow as a pitcher. Expect to see Mejia in the big leagues in the not-so-distant future, whether it be as a Giant or as a trade piece.