Why Jenrry Mejia should be the Mets’ 5th Starter

Jenrry MejiaTo this point, Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, Bartolo Colon, and Dillon Gee seem to round out the first four spots of the rotation- which seems to be pretty solid- but the fifth spot is seemingly up for grabs. In reality, Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard are not going to make the roster on Opening Day while Jacob deGrom is probably not even going to be a Met by Spring Training. There have been many rumors of the Mets attempting to land another starting pitcher, but this is highly unnecessary due to Jenrry Mejia’s resurgence on multiple levels.

His Control
When Mejia came up in 2010, he was erratic and clearly not ready for the majors as he pitched to the tune of a 4.6 BB/9 rate. When he came up he posted a laughable 5.1 BB/9 rate- to his credit, five of his nine walks were in one start- but nevertheless he was pitching with an arm that wasn’t ready to come back from Tommy John surgery. When he came up this year he didn’t walk more than two batters in all five of his starts with a BB/9 of 1.3. He also pitched to a strike percentage of 67%, to put that into perspective- Adam Wainwright had the exact same rate. All signs with his control are pointing in the right direction for Mejia.

Ability to Limit Runs
Not only has he been able to limit the amount of base runners that come through walks, he has also limited the amount of hits that are allowed with runners on the base paths. In the 68 At Bats that hitters had with runners on opponents hit only.194 and with RISP batters hit measly .125. A very interesting statistic to see on Mejia is that he allowed a .569 OPS with two outs. Mejia is also pretty much unhittable when the Mets are losing in a game. Mejia has demonstrated the ability to limit many aspects of possible run production and this is important with allowing him to pitch on the fifth day of the season.

After the signing of Colon it, for some reason, it has come into question whether or not Mejia should deserve the rotation spot and with the evidence provided, it seems important to let him in. While it may be good to bring in some minor league contracts to give him motive and competition to pitch well in Spring Training, the job should be his.

25 comments for “Why Jenrry Mejia should be the Mets’ 5th Starter

  1. Patrick Albanesius
    December 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Agreed, but health is the biggest concern for me. I definitely see him as the 5th starter. I just hope he can hold up for 30+ starts.

  2. Dan3b22
    December 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I believe the Mets are hoping Mejia is healthy to win the job as he can be such a great addition to this rotation If he can pitch 180 innings this year. His command and mound presence was great last year (though cut short).

    That being said it probably isn’t a bad idea to bring in DiceK or that type of veteran just in case Mejia is not ready to go and to add depth (preventing the need to move deGrom, Thor or Montero up too early).

  3. Jerry Grote
    December 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I think your nuts, Julian.

    Meija should be at least the #3 starter, possibly the #2, if he’s healthy.

    • Sean Flattery
      December 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      I agree he has potential to be a #2 or #3, but per Sandy Alderson there will be a competition for the last rotation spot. (Mejia, deGrom, Montero, unknown veteran yet to signed). Right now he’s not even a #5.

      That being said, I’m on board with Mejia! If he stays healthy, he could be a huge X factor for this team

    • December 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      At this point, Colon, Niese, and Gee seem to be the proven ones in the rotation that have the immediate potential of reaching 200IP while Wheeler is the guy with the scholarship. Mejia may have the talent to be the #3 or even #2 starter, but at this point there are four other superior pitchers in front of him that should take weight off his shoulders.

  4. footballhead
    December 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    As far as I’m concern, having Meija around gives us five ready to go MLB calibre starters. Will there be injuries? Yep. Is it possible that some regression can occur? Yep. However, I’d like to be positive and think of Wheeler continuing to do well, that the Gee haters and doubters are finally made to shut up and give credit to this unheralded arm providing quality starts in the NYC arena and coming back from shoulder blood clots. Neise? Gotta have have our lefty, and Colon will be that veteran presence needed. Will he win 18? No. Still, I like what we have.

    • Sean Flattery
      December 17, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      I’m glad you complimented Gee like that. He really pitched terrific last year after a shaky start. His performance last year doesn’t get enough credit!

    • December 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      I am totally with you on the subject of Gee, people need to realize that he was a frame away from 200IP and he can be an extremely solid middle-to-back of the rotation guy. Wheeler actually had a 2.92 ERA in his final 8 starts and a 3.11 ERA in his last 14 starts so I expect him to take a substantial step forward. Colon will probably the biggest contributor in the rotation for April (no pun intended) because he will lead the youngsters to push and do better.

  5. Jim OMalley
    December 17, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Does the team need to even worry about the fifth starter for the first four or five weeks of the season? Travel days, bad weather, etc usually gives a team some time to dip into the need to establish a fifth starter, right?

    • Dim
      December 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm

      I think our pitchers will be even better this year. I like the Colon signing. I think, it will help Mejia to be more of a control pitcher instead of hitting 100 miles per hour every times. He showed some control last year, but I am not sure if he was compensating the arm due to pain. When Noah is ready in September, I will not mind seeing Mejia in the bull pen behind Vic. I would trade Dillon Gee and Chris Young for prospects come July. We need more talented pitchers in the pipes in case of injuries.

      2015
      Harvey
      Wheeler
      Niese
      Noah
      Montero

      • December 17, 2013 at 11:12 pm

        Hey Dan! When Harvey comes back he’ll only be allowed to pitch somewhere between 150-160 innings just like Strasburg in Washington. Colon signed a 2 year contract. I’m guessing SA did that knowing Harvey would not be available for a full season until 2016.

  6. Chris
    December 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I am all for Meija winning the number 5 sot if healthy. Let Meija, deGrom and Montero fight it out.

    I am a big fan of Gee and actually liked Hefner as well. They have a bunch of solid pitching coming along. Move one for a bat.

  7. Jim OMalley
    December 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    I think the team should try and keep all that pitching together and not be in any rush to part with any of it.

  8. Name
    December 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    This is sort of a Public Service Announcement as i see this mistake all the time and even used to (and sometimes still) make it myself.
    The Correct way to spell Jenrry’s last name is meJia and not meija. J before i.

    • wanny
      December 17, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      j before i except after c?

      i actually think gee should be shopped. i think he probably reached his peak last season and would have tremendous value on the trade market. i’d be fine with signing another back end veteran starter to pitch in the 4 or 5 slot with the winner of the kids’ competition as the 5th.
      baker, bedard, fausto, hammel, maholm, niemann (injured last yr) all out there.

      I bet Gee would bring back two good pieces.

  9. Kevin
    December 17, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Julian, why do you say Jacob deGrom probably will not be a Met by spring training? I follow the team pretty closely and I have not heard or read anything suggesting Mets plan to trade him. Is that just your personal opinion or have you heard something I haven’t? I’m not necessarily opposed to it. Just curious.

    • December 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

      The reasoning is mostly personal. In my opinion, I expect the Mets to land a new shortstop and I believe Ike Davis will be part of the trade- as well as deGrom for filler to make it happen.

  10. December 17, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Julian it’s not a question that he deserves the 5th spot in the rotation. This isn’t a school function rewarding a student for academic achievement. He has to earn it with a consistent performance during spring training. Also don’t forget Las Vegas is going to need 5 starters so the team may need to fill out the starting rotation by signing 1 or 2 veteran pitchers to minor league contracts.

  11. Metsense
    December 18, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Four years after the Minaya/Manual job preservation promotion, Mejia will finally take his place, at age 24, in the Met rotation this spring. In 2013,( with a very small sample size of only 27 innings), he would have ranked: 2.46 FIP (3), 2.30 ERA (4), 1.17 WHIP (22). Of course it would be impossible to expect these numbers over a full season. The point is that when he finally got to pitch, he was able to show his vast potential. The same potential that was misguided and misused in 2010.
    The problem arises that Mejia has only pitched a total of 113 maximum innings in any one season (2012) and only 52 innings in 2013. Therefore, a “generous” expectation for 2014, based on the policy of this front office is 143 innings or 24 starts. I’ll sign up for that.
    Mejia can be a real difference maker for the 2014 Mets, high production from an unlikely source.

    • Sean Flattery
      December 18, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      I agree. He was downright dominant last year. Victim of few poor innings late in games, but otherwise terrific. I’m praying he stays healthy…for once!

  12. Dave
    December 18, 2013 at 11:58 am

    He will be on an innings limit for sure. Nobody should expect more than 150, seeing as how he has not pitched to that number for at least a couple of years-if at all. Love his stuff, has to get through a season relatively unscathed.

    • December 18, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      I totally agree that there will be an innings limit, but I would find 170-180 more reasonable.

  13. December 19, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Don’t pitchers have to build their arm strength? 170-180 sounds unreasonable considering he has yet to pass the 150 inning threshold in any season. That’s a big leap you’re asking him to go from 53 innings to 170-180, You’re taking an unnecessary risk,

    • December 19, 2013 at 7:53 am

      In MLB last year, 76 pitchers cleared the 170-IP hurdle. Assuming they’re equally distributed, that’s 2 or 3 per team.

      Understanding that pitchers get hurt all of the time, Gee and Wheeler are solid bets to clear that hurdle and it’s not unreasonable to think that Niese and Colon will get close, too. If the Mets get 680 IP from those four, they can handle whatever innings Mejia gives them, whether that’s 25 or 150.

  14. December 19, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Preferably 150 but then again if Syndergaard and Montero come up mid season you’ll have a surplus of starters.

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