Jenrry Mejia might have the best stuff in the Mets’ minor league system, and that stuff could translate into a productive, and perhaps lucrative, career as a starter. But, It won’t this year.
The problem I’ve always had with the Mets’ handling of Mejia is their indecisiveness in how to use his talented arm. That problem was brought into focus two years ago, when Jerry Manuel, desperate for help in the bullpen rushed him to the major league level as a reliever. That season they brought him north in the pen, the demoted him as a starter when he struggled. Eventually, Mejia had Tommy John surgery.
Is there a correlation? That seems a reasonable conclusion. Even if inaccurate, it is hard to dispute the perception.
The Mets are using Mejia in their rotation on the minor league level currently, with visions of bringing him up shortly to work in the pen. I’m not crazy about the Mets repeating the scenario, but the key difference is they are working first to build up his stamina and strength first before changing his role.
Will it work? I don’t know, but this time the Mets appear to be laying the foundation first. What I don’t want to see is the Mets changing course on Mejia if there is a setback. Let him go the entire season in one role, then if a redirect is needed, make the decision in the offseason and go from there.
Mejia has an explosive, talented arm that shouldn’t be fooled with. They were burned once, but could they survive another Mejia injury?