2 Guys Talking: Jenrry Meija, Still a Prospect After All These Years

Mike:

When the names of Mets prospects come up these days Jenrry Meija has become lost in the shuffle. It’s interesting. He is still only 23; Matt Harvey, for instance, is also 23. Meija has logged some major league innings already and still has a power arm. He blew out his elbow, of course, in 2011 but came back to pitch 92 innings in 2012. Tommy John surgery is usually successful and often it takes over a year for pitchers to come all the way back. Before the injury, Meija was ranked as the 45th best prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus in its 2011 edition. Zack Wheeler was ranked 52nd that year. 2013 seems like a good year to plug a guy like Jenrry into our rotation and see what he can do. Meija could still be an important part of our long-range future.

Jimmy:

What’s that old Dusty Springfield number? “Wishin’ and Hopin’”? Well, I’m wishing and hoping, too, but my expectations have been significantly lowered.

Reese Havens, derailed by injuries, still hoping to get back on track.

In general, elbow injuries are more fixable than shoulder injuries, which are still just about the kiss of death. But the fact remains that Meija suffered a significant injury at a critical time in his development. I have a half-baked, weak-ass theory on that, which goes that there are times in our development when we need to go through key phases of growth — I see this when children are sick for long periods of time — and that this “missed time” is not as simple as resetting the clock. The boy that misses 7th grade, for example, misses more than a year of school, he misses an important transitional period, the rough-and-tumble jostle through the pecking order, and he loses, for a time, his confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes a player misses a year or 18 months due to injury. You figure that logically, well, he’ll just reset the clock and catch up. But what we sometimes see, I suspect, are players like Fernando Martinez and Reese Havens, who maybe lose something else that is essential, something that is more than time.

Sorry, is that crazy?

In December 2010, “flame-throwing” Jenrry Meija was the Mets #1 prospect, according to Baseball America.

Meija may come all the way back, though I’m not sure where that was, exactly. At best, he was very raw. Then the Mets criminally mishandled him, brought him up too soon for a non-competitive team (if it was during a pennant race, that’s a different discussion, I think), and he appeared confused, unprepared and unhappy about his role. Then the injury hit. What I remembered from 2010 was that his stuff looked electric, there was life in his arm. Whereas his starts late in 2012 were disappointing to say the least. I just didn’t see that electricity. The fastball didn’t jump, the off-speed stuff didn’t bite. The raw athletic talent — not skill, but talent — that used to define him no longer seemed present. Maybe that comes back this year. Maybe not. In the meantime, I’ll be wishing and hoping.

Mike:

I agree, nothing about his stuff looked fantastic last year. But with another offseason to continue his post-surgery recovery and conditioning, well, we don’t know. I do know he is 23 and was a major prospect a short time ago. Also, even though Sandy Alderson is afraid to utter the “R” word, we are clearly rebuilding, or restructuring, or replenishing, or whatever else we want to call it.

Jimmy:

Regurgitating? Actually vomiting up the 2012 season all over again?

Mike:

You know, punting 2013.

So given that I really like the idea of putting Meija in the rotation and seeing what he can do, I would much rather see him every fifth day than Chris Young (you know that signing is coming) or Laffey. Let them be around for the inevitable needs that will arise during the season.

Jimmy:

Sounds like a plan, Mike. It would be crazy and interesting if in July we’re looking at a rotation that includes Harvey, Wheeler, and Meija. People get down on Johan, but he’s a real good guy for these young pitchers to be around. While he lasts!

Just for a point of reference, almost exactly two years ago Baseball America released this list of the Mets Top Ten Prospects:

1. Jenrry Mejia, rhp
2. Wilmer Flores, ss
3. Cesar Puello, of
4. Matt Harvey, rhp
5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, of
6. Reese Havens, 2b
7. Lucas Duda, of/1b
8. Fernando Martinez, of
9. Aderlin Rodriguez, 3b
10. Brad Holt, rhp.

 

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3 comments

  1. Eric says:

    I’ve never seen the POP from Mejia. The Radar Gun says he throws “hard enough”….the K’s don’t seem to be there….Kind of indicates that Pitch Mix will be huge for him…and location. He doesn’t have many innings before or after his injury. He’s not going to land at the ML level and blow out hitters while he’s learning to pitch….he’ll need to arrive READY.

  2. Sitting here in January, I think he needs more time at AAA. I should have mentioned above that I’ve always seen Meija as a guy we should eventually trade. I’ve just never counted that egg. So if he can re-establish his health, and throw well at AAA, his market value should rise considerably and maybe become a chip we can cash in for that desperately needed, young athletic outfielder. Regarding my half-baked injury theory: I just mean to say that for some players, the scar is more than physical. Especially for developing players. For an established player, who has already succeeded at the highest level, it is psychologically easier to “come back” from an injury because he has somewhere to come back to. Anyway, he’s an interesting player and it could go all sorts of different ways, from complete bust to star.

  3. Ken H. says:

    While Mejia is still young, we should consider ourselves very lucky if he winds up being anything more than a mediocre middle reliever. He cruised through the minors until he hit AAA where his pitches stopped missing bats (he struck out only 5.6 batters per 9 IP in AAA). In the majors, he has struck out only 4.9 per 9 IP. He also walks too many batters. I’ll give him this year to try to prove that his failures in AAA and the majors have been due to his injuries, but nothing beyond 2013. Further, if the rumors are true that the Marlins may consider Mejia a useful piece in a potential deal for Giancarlo Stanton, I would be glad to drive Mejia down to Miami and Giancarlo back to NY myself. Sounds too good to be true though.

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