Mejia Returning To The Rotation

BINGHAMTON, NY - The case of Jenrry Mejia has been the most closely watched prospect storyline of the 2010 season. The question of whether he should be a starter or reliever dominated many circles around the Mets organization. Now, after nearly three months in the big league bullpen, Mejia is back with the Binghamton Mets where he will restart his development as a starting pitcher.

New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel was so impressed by Jenrry Mejia during Spring Training that he wanted to have him break camp with the big league club. Manuel seemed to think Mejia's fastball was major league ready and thought he could immediately contribute out of the bullpen. Manuel had his way, and the 20-year-old phenom spent nearly three months in the majors.

In 30 games for the Mets, Mejia pitched to a 3.25 earned run average in 27.2 innings. He was pitching mostly in low leverage or mop-up situations as time went on, and the organization felt it was time for Mejia to return to starting and was sent to Double-A to do just that.

The top prospect in the Mets' farm system, Mejia had been a starting pitcher up until the start of the 2010 season and the organization views him as a starter long term.

Mejia feels his time in the big league bullpen was beneficial to his progression.

"It helped me a lot," he said. "I had to be ready. If they called Jenrry Mejia I had to be ready. If they ask me to throw ten pitches every day I have to say yes. It's the big leagues, big difference."

Pitching against some of the game's most prolific hitters while in the majors was invaluable experience for Mejia, and he cited that experience when asked what he thought he had improved on in his time in the majors.

"When I faced Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols, guys like that," Mejia said. "Those guys are the best in the big leagues."

After signing with the Mets on April 4th 2007 as a 17-year old, it took Mejia just three years to reach the big league level, which speaks volumes about how talented he is.

"I feel good (about that)," Mejia said. "Somebody said something like 2013 for me to be a starter. But I felt pretty good up there as a reliever. Now they know me, now they know I can play in the big leagues."

Mejia dominated the Florida State League at the start of 2009; he went 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA in nine starts spanning 50.1 innings for St. Lucie. He was later promoted to Binghamton and in 10 starts went 0-5 with a 4.47 ERA in 44.1 innings, so it's sensible for him to return to the Double-A level, regardless of the overblown issue of the weather in Buffalo being the reason for him going to Binghamton.

After being sent down on June 21st, Mejia made his first start of the season Wednesday night at NYSEG stadium. He tossed 42 pitches in 2.1 innings, allowing one earned run on two hits and two walks, while striking out three.

He entered the game on a 50-pitch limit as the stretching out process has just begun. He threw mostly fastballs, just as he had been in the majors. He topped out at 97 mph, and was consistently in the mid-90's. Mejia is happy to have returned to his normal role as a starting pitcher.

"I feel great," he said. "Being a reliever is different than a starter. A reliever throws like 10, 20 pitches. Now I have to work hard to throw 80, 100, 120 pitches. It's a big difference."

The key to Mejia's future lies in the development of his secondary pitches. B-Mets pitching coach Mark Brewer is impressed with Mejia's talent, but admits he has to toil to improve his curveball and changeup.

"He's always had an above average rotation from the stand point of his curveball," Brewer said. "The changeup needs to get better. It's a little hard right now, and it was even at the big league level, but he used it because it's got arm-side movement."

"But overall he's got work to do on both of those so he can be as consistent as he needs to be at the big league level and a longer role."

The plan after his first start called for Mejia making his next three starts on three days rest with a 60-pitch limit for each to speed up the stretching out process. Following those starts, he will go back to pitching every fifth day with an increased pitch limit.

"He understands what the plan is," Brewer said. "He went over it with the big league staff before he came down here, so he understands exactly what's up for him in the next month or so."

That plan may now be altered as Mejia exited his second start at Akron in the second inning with right shoulder stiffness. He pitched one-plus innings, allowing no runs on two hits and two walks, while striking out two batters on 44 pitches. It is not yet known if he will make his next scheduled start.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nNew York Mets manager Jerry Manuel was so impressed by Jenrry Mejia during Spring Training that he wanted to have him break camp with the big league club. Manuel seemed to think Mejia's fastball was major league ready and thought he could immediately contribute out of the bullpen. Manuel had his way, and the 20-year-old phenom spent nearly three months in the majors.
\r\n
\r\nIn 30 games for the Mets, Mejia pitched to a 3.25 earned run average in 27.2 innings. He was pitching mostly in low leverage or mop-up situations as time went on, and the organization felt it was time for Mejia to return to starting and was sent to Double-A to do just that.
\r\n
\r\nThe top prospect in the Mets' farm system, Mejia had been a starting pitcher up until the start of the 2010 season and the organization views him as a starter long term.
\r\n
\r\nMejia feels his time in the big league bullpen was beneficial to his progression.
\r\n
\r\n\"It helped me a lot,\" he said. \"I had to be ready. If they called Jenrry Mejia I had to be ready. If they ask me to throw ten pitches every day I have to say yes. It's the big leagues, big difference.\"
\r\n
\r\nPitching against some of the game's most prolific hitters while in the majors was invaluable experience for Mejia, and he cited that experience when asked what he thought he had improved on in his time in the majors.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I faced Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols, guys like that,\" Mejia said. \"Those guys are the best in the big leagues.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter signing with the Mets on April 4th 2007 as a 17-year old, it took Mejia just three years to reach the big league level, which speaks volumes about how talented he is.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel good (about that),\" Mejia said. \"Somebody said something like 2013 for me to be a starter. But I felt pretty good up there as a reliever. Now they know me, now they know I can play in the big leagues.\"
\r\n
\r\nMejia dominated the Florida State League at the start of 2009; he went 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA in nine starts spanning 50.1 innings for St. Lucie. He was later promoted to Binghamton and in 10 starts went 0-5 with a 4.47 ERA in 44.1 innings, so it's sensible for him to return to the Double-A level, regardless of the overblown issue of the weather in Buffalo being the reason for him going to Binghamton.
\r\n
\r\nAfter being sent down on June 21st, Mejia made his first start of the season Wednesday night at NYSEG stadium. He tossed 42 pitches in 2.1 innings, allowing one earned run on two hits and two walks, while striking out three.
\r\n
\r\nHe entered the game on a 50-pitch limit as the stretching out process has just begun. He threw mostly fastballs, just as he had been in the majors. He topped out at 97 mph, and was consistently in the mid-90's. Mejia is happy to have returned to his normal role as a starting pitcher.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel great,\" he said. \"Being a reliever is different than a starter. A reliever throws like 10, 20 pitches. Now I have to work hard to throw 80, 100, 120 pitches. It's a big difference.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe key to Mejia's future lies in the development of his secondary pitches. B-Mets pitching coach Mark Brewer is impressed with Mejia's talent, but admits he has to toil to improve his curveball and changeup.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's always had an above average rotation from the stand point of his curveball,\" Brewer said. \"The changeup needs to get better. It's a little hard right now, and it was even at the big league level, but he used it because it's got arm-side movement.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"But overall he's got work to do on both of those so he can be as consistent as he needs to be at the big league level and a longer role.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe plan after his first start called for Mejia making his next three starts on three days rest with a 60-pitch limit for each to speed up the stretching out process. Following those starts, he will go back to pitching every fifth day with an increased pitch limit.
\r\n
\r\n\"He understands what the plan is,\" Brewer said. \"He went over it with the big league staff before he came down here, so he understands exactly what's up for him in the next month or so.\"
\r\n
\r\nThat plan may now be altered as Mejia exited his second start at Akron in the second inning with right shoulder stiffness. He pitched one-plus innings, allowing no runs on two hits and two walks, while striking out two batters on 44 pitches. It is not yet known if he will make his next scheduled start.
\r\n
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