Jenrry Mejia could be a contributor

The Mets are going to have to bolster their bullpen if they are going to make any noise in 2019. The relief corps posted a collective ERA of 4.96 in 2018, 28th in the Majors, and surrendered 82 homers, tied for 26th. One addition could be a blast from the past, namely 29 year old Jenrry Mejia.

Mejia could be considered sort of an in-house candidate for a relief slot, or really more like an in-doghouse candidate. After a pretty good 2014 with the Mets, Mejia has only pitched in seven MLB games, all in 2015. This was due to three different positive tests for banned steroids, the last of which resulted in a lifetime suspension from MLB ball in February of 2016.

However Mejia showed enough contrition that back in July of this year MLB announced he would be conditionally reinstated in time for Spring training in 2019. That “condition” for reinstatement means there will be lots of drug tests, and he better pass them all with flying colors if he wants to have any chance of staying in the big leagues.

As noted before, his last full season was 2014, that year he was the closer of the Mets’ staff. His stats were good, not great. He racked up 28 saves in 93.2 IP that year, with an ERA of 3.65 and a FIP of 3.73. He struck out a little more than a batter an inning, but he did yield nearly four walks per nine innings, a kind of high figure.

He was quite good in his abbreviated 2015, pitching 7.1 innings in seven games, allowing no earned runs. Then the failed steroid tests started coming, resulting in the involuntary hiatus for Mejia.

Like most pitchers, especially relievers, the fastball is his main pitch. According to FanGraphs he threw the heater 57.5% of the time in 2014, with an average velocity of 93.4 MPH. A few decades ago that velocity would have impressed, but it is only ordinary nowadays for MLB relievers. He probably does get pretty good movement on his fastball. His assortment of pitches includes sliders, curves and changeups.

Of course the big question is how well he would rebound after being away from the game for such an extended period. You would have to go back a long way to find any similar situations. Perhaps one comparable situation would be the suspension of Sal Maglie for playing in the Mexican League in 1946, resulting in him and other players being suspended for the rest of the 40’s. For what it’s worth he actually pitched better when he returned to the New York Giants in 1950, winning the ERA crown that year and going on to have a very successful career.

Mejia did get to pitch a bit in the minors on a rehab assignment in 2018, just seven innings but he did not yield a run during that stretch.

Mejia comes with baggage, obviously, but he is not going to command a real high salary. For a team like the Mets who need an upgrade in their bullpen corps, Mejia could prove to be a useful and affordable bullpen option.

12 comments for “Jenrry Mejia could be a contributor

  1. October 30, 2018 at 9:41 am

    The Mets really pushed and Sold Mejia as a “Take your Choice…. next Dwight or Mariano”.

    He’s always been a failure based on that unearned expectation…it was not fair to Him. He was a young guy with a very projectible arm and repertoire…and he seemed to be gaining toward success when his personal problems caught up with him.

  2. Chuck Rothman
    October 30, 2018 at 9:48 am

    It’s amazing how many people are overlooking Mejia.

    The team obviously planned for this: they offered him arbitration last year to keep his rights (it didn’t cost anything, and I’m sure the thinking was that on the off chance his suspension was lifted, they’d control him).

    It’s hard to tell how good he’ll be, but that’s what spring training is for. Given the team’s need of relief pitching, he should be a potential option.

  3. TexasGusCC
    October 30, 2018 at 10:21 am

    John, I was thinking everything you wrote, and would say the only advantage Mejia would have over a Drew Smith or Bashlor, is he throws five pitches for strikes – occasionally. He’s kind of a wildcard you hold onto, but the Maglie comparison was great research. Let’s see what our new general says this afternoon.

  4. October 30, 2018 at 10:53 am

    At this point, Mejia is a lottery ticket. No one knows if he’ll be able to pitch at a high level again after missing so much time. My expectation is that he starts the year in the minors and gets a chance to earn a spot in the majors.

    In 2014, his overall numbers are skewed by his time in the rotation. In 56 games as a reliever, he had a 2.72 ERA with a 2.86 K/BB ratio. And his BB/9 rate was 3.36 out of the pen.

    • TJ
      October 30, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Agree 100%. A wildcard that should not be in the 25 man plan at all. If he contributes, great.

    • John Fox
      October 30, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      Good catch Brian. Looks like his stuff is better when he does not pace himself as a starter.

  5. Name
    October 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    It’ll be a sad day if Mejia takes the field, even at the minor league level. If someone is willing to give this idiot another shot, i will be rooting for him to fail.

  6. Met fan 4ever
    October 30, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    You got to question the guy’s smarts. 3 suspensions in less than two seasons,geesh! If he comes back let’s hope is catcher is bright.

  7. Pete In Iowa
    October 30, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Nothing like a “lifetime” suspension which lasts all of 3 and one-half years!!
    Sheez. Give me a break….

  8. October 30, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    What is your desire to see this guy’s ban continue???? He was 26 years old, and under a lot of pressure to make his career work. Call it a mistake—call it whatever you want.

    He did not shoot the Pope! It’s like some of you guys Hate Players…..Geesh!!!!

  9. Met fan 4ever
    October 30, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Don’t think taking the supplements is that bad, take the punishment, move on. Think getting caught three times in two years is more an intelligence matter than a moral one.

  10. Joe F
    October 31, 2018 at 8:44 am

    It is thought that he last two failed tests were actually one, which is why they offered reinstatement. Apparently the drug in question can be detected for months and he was tested two months after his second test. Not defending him and not sure if he can contribute, but it wasn’t really 3 tests failed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: