Despite taking the loss in his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jenrry Mejia continued to pitch impressively for the New York Mets. In four starts, Mejia’s ERA is just 2.22, and he has struck out 22 while walking only three in 24 innings of work. He has given the Mets a chance to win in each start.
Mets’ fans should be excited about Mejia’s return to the majors following Tommy John surgery, but they should also be cognizant of another elbow injury Mejia has been pitching with. Mejia has bone chips in his right elbow and will need surgery this offseason to remove them, which should be a concern for the Mets. However, it may actually be beneficial for Mejia and the Mets in the long run.
Although the bone chips in his elbow are bothering him, Mejia has felt it important for him to finish out the season, which is a sign of maturity for a pitcher who is still just 23-years old. To avoid too much discomfort while pitching, Mejia has had to dial down his velocity. Since he’s relying less on velocity and his pure stuff to get batters out, Mejia has become less of a thrower and more of a pitcher.
By having limitations to what he can do physically, Mejia has become a better pitcher. He’s learned to sequence his pitches better, control his pitches better and outsmart hitters more frequently. Not only should Mejia benefit from having Tommy John surgery at a rather young age, but forcing himself to pitch with bone chips in his elbow has furthered his development, helping him make up for the time he lost when he had the surgery.
Assuming that he’s able to come back healthy next season, without limitations, there’s no telling how good he can be once he’s back at full strength. That is something the Mets have been waiting a long time to come.