Will Mejia solidify the Mets closer role?

The closer position has been a revolving door for the Mets the past couple of seasons due to injuries and erratic play. Now with Jenrry Mejia emerging as the favorite to lock down save opportunities, will the young 25-year-old finally turn the corner and become the Amazin's go-to man?

The New York Mets have announced Jenrry Mejia will enter the season as the team’s closer.

Mejia is coming off an inconsistent season after taking over for Bobby Parnell who underwent Tommy John surgery last April after blowing out his arm on opening day in 2014.

Although Mejia had injury issues of his own including surgery for a sports hernia on Oct. 2, he arrived ready for camp on Feb. 17.

His injury issues aren’t the only concern.

After about 93 innings pitched, Mejia averaged one walk and one run per inning pitched. For a closer who only has one inning to be lights out these numbers are concerning.

In order for Mejia to solidify his role as the Mets closer he’ll have to get his walks down and his strikeouts up.

He made his transition from starter to reliever last year. Now that he is most likely staying in the bullpen it could help him hone his skills in relief appearances.

Mejia is a power pitcher, but at a smaller stature of 5-foot-11 and only 195 pounds, his fastball tops out at about 93 mph. Now that the Mets have Mejia pitching less innings, he can work on trying to pick up his pitch speed.

It’s promising that he converted 28 of his 31 save opportunities and picked up 98 strikeouts along the way.

He was ranked second in the National League in saves for the second half of last season (18). Mejia would work his way in and out of trouble, especially since he’s so prone to walking batters.

70 percent of the first batters walked in an inning score. Thus resulting in Mejia giving up 38 earned runs (about a run every two innings).

Without any setbacks, Parnell is expected to return around May.

Parnell’s fastball packs a stronger punch than Mejia’s ranging from 95 to 97 mph. In six of his seven years in the Major Leagues, Parnell hasn’t given up more than four homeruns in a season. If Parnell returns and Mejia starts the season hot, it would only hurt the Mets to take Mejia out of his rhythm. New York could have dual closers by alternating them every few games or could just make Parnell the set-up man and relegate Jeurys Familia to seventh inning duties.

So far this spring training, Mejia has pitched two innings and has given up three hits, one earned run and one strikeout.

Parnell is projected to appear in a Grapefruit League game on March 11; his first game action since his surgery last April.

At this point Parnell is still probably the better fit for the position, but the young 25-year-old Mejia does have a lot of room for improvement and right now it’s his role to lose.


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