Every Mets fan that witnessed the incredible achievements of Jenrry Mejia during Spring Training 2010, realizes that the sky is the limit for him. When Jerry Manuel begged Omar Minaya to bring Mejia to the major league roster some were very supportive of bringing the future directly to the majors, while others were skeptical. Regardless of anyone else’s thoughts Mejia was brought to the MLB as a reliever, rather than his natural position as a starter. He was eventually sent down to bring up reliever- now closer- Bobby Parnell. He came back up he began to start games, unfortunately, he struggled immensely and had a bad injury. Now after making another good start his fourth start last night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, let’s see how he fared through his first three starts every season of his young career.
So what happened from Mejia’s excellence in Spring Training 2010, to his 2011 Tommy John surgery, his struggles in 2012, and finally to his dominance this season? The short answer is that he was brought up too early and finally developed. Let’s look at his first three seasons in the majors after 3 starts:
2010: 0-4 Record 4.62 ERA 33 Games/3 Games Started 39 IP 1.69 WHIP 10.6 H/9 4.6 BB/9 5.1 SO/9
Mejia struggled immensely in 2010, mostly due to his early call-up. Mejia didn’t throw strikes very often which led to a very high walk-rate, and when he did throw strikes they were hit very hard. The unfortunate part about Mejia’s struggles was that he seldom struck batters out. When Mejia was in the minor leagues, after getting sent down, he had a tremendous amount of success with his command. When the righty was called up again in September he was a starter, struggled, eventually got injured in what seemed to be the best start of his career- 2.1 IP 0 ER. Mejia’s first three career starts evened out to 11.1 IP and a 7.94 ERA.
2012: 1-2 Record 5.63 ERA 5 Games/3 Games Started 16 IP 1.81 WHIP 11.3 H/9 5.1 BB/9 4.5 SO/9
If one thought that Mejia in 2010 was terrible, then they would continue to be unimpressed with him. Mejia once again struggled throwing strikes and didn’t strike out very many batters. Mejia had always been successful in the minors, but in 2012 he was just above average- 3.59 ERA. When Mejia came up to the majors for September call-ups he didn’t exactly improve from 2010 andhe was a huge disappointment, except for his lone win. Mejia’s next three career starts were a tad better than his first three- 13 IP and a 6.23 ERA.
2013: 1-1 Record 1.96 ERA 3 Starts 18.1 IP 1.09 WHIP 8.3 H/9 1.5 BB/9 8.8 SO/9
While in the minor leagues Mejia had a decent amount of success coming back from rehab, and he was activated from the 60-day DL to ultimately make a spot start. Many were skeptical to see him back on the mound after watching his atrocious outings the year before but Mejia had a brilliant performance and shined for seven shutout innings with zero walks and seven strikeouts. The outing was so outstanding that it persuaded Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson to keep him on the major league roster. Since then, he has been very solid in his outings; a quality start in Miami and a start that got away after an umpire injury. He was extremely solid through his first three starts this season- 18.1 IP and a 1.96 ERA.
Mejia was once considered to be the next Dwight Gooden, which has been taken out of the possibility due to Matt Harvey, but he still could be a great starting pitcher. With last night’s performance against the Dodgers he showed he can retire big bats. These last two months of 2013 will be vital for Mejia’s future in the New York Metropolitans organization.