The New York Mets had a mostly disappointing season, but Jenrry Mejia has been a bright spot. In his relatively short time as closer, Mejia has finally proven that he can be an All-Star caliber pitcher.
The 24-year-old closer has surprised many with his success following his move from the rotation to the bullpen. Since he made his first relief appearance on May 12 against the New York Yankees, Mejia has allowed only six earned runs in 21.1 innings pitched for an ERA of 2.53. Mejia has also successfully converted all but one of his nine save opportunities this season.
Unfortunately, the fact that Mejia didn’t assume the closer’s role until after a month and a half of the season had already passed, coupled with his team’s poor play, has limited him to only nine save opportunities. He won’t be considered for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game. But barring another significant injury, Mejia will be All-Star-worthy in 2015.
Since making his major-league debut in 2010 against the then-Florida Marlins, Mejia’s career has been marked by devastating setbacks offsetting his high potential. After pitching in a total of 10 major league games from 2011-2013, Mejia appeared destined to be a bust. He started this season in the rotation, where he made seven starts with mixed results.
After back-to-back starts in which he failed to make it through the fifth inning, he was moved to the bullpen. Mejia converted his first save opportunity on May 17 against the Washington Nationals. With closer Bobby Parnell out for the season following Tommy John surgery at the beginning in April, Mejia has not only filled in adequately, but appears to be the closer of the future.
Regardless of what the Mets do once Parnell recovers from his MCL tear, Mejia is an All-Star caliber relief pitcher when he is on the mound and deserves the ninth-inning job with the team.