Mar 04

March 4.10: Mejia on Tap for Today.

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey gets the start today against St. Louis, and Jason Bay, David Wright and Jeff Francoeur will make their spring training debuts, but arguably the most interesting moment of the day could be the appearance of 20-year-old prospect Jennry Mejia, whom manager Jerry Manuel admits is raw, but is also making noises about using him as a reliever.

And, in a comment that will do nothing but add pressure and expectations, Darryl Strawberry said his cutter reminded him of Mariano Rivera. Easy Darryl, easy Darryl.

Mejia has electric stuff, the kind scouts drool over and makes one wonder about future dominance as a starter. Mejia doesn’t have the command or pitch variety to be a starter now, but he could be a one-trick pony out of the pen. However, command is still command, and that’s important in any role and right now he’s more a thrower than a pitcher.

I saw how the Mets rushed Eddie Kunz – who is still struggling – and Bobby Parnell and I don’t want the same thing to happen to Mejia. If Mejia is to make the major league roster, he needs a defined role and a manager with the patience not to yank him out of a role with the first sign of struggle.

It’s easy to get seduced by a high-90s fastball, but most scouts say Mejia is not ready for prime time. Sure, it would be nice to fast forward a year or two, but that’s not realistic.

NOTE: No word yet as to why, but Jose Reyes was scratched from today’s line-up.

Jan 08

Jan. 8.10: Looking at the Mets’ prospects.

John Sickels, author of the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book, is high on Fernando Martinez and Jenrry Mejia, but lukewarm with John Niese.

Most scouts believe Mejia has the stuff to be a starter, but needs time in the minor leagues – maybe two more years – to refine his secondary pitches. The worst thing the Mets could do is to push the envelope with him, but that’s the fear, that they will rush him as they did Mike Pelfrey.

Sickels also believes Martinez is being regarded too harshly considering his age, but is concerned about his durability. The acquisition of Jason Bay makes it clear the Mets don’t believe Martinez is ready this year. Perhaps by the end of the year he may have put himself in position to help.

As far as Niese goes, if his hamstring is sound he could help the Mets this season, but Sickels doesn’t see much of a ceiling for him, calling him a “classic number three guy.’’

If you’re highest minor league level pitching prospect is a No. 3, that’s not encouraging.

Dec 04

Mets’ minors aren’t making it ….

Baseball America has ranked the Mets’ minor league system 20th in the majors, ahead of only Washington in the NL East. The Phillies are fourth, Braves seventh and Marlins ninth. The Nationals are at 26.

The Phillies are deep, meaning they have the chips to spend on a major league arm, such as Roy Halladay, if they chose. If Toronto goes outside the division, I’m still saying the Phillies will get him.

Baseball America did rank the prospects Ike Davis and Jenrry Mejia among the top ten prospects in the Arizona Fall League.

Despite horrid numbers, the scouts love Mejia’s arm strength. Still, he’s at least two years away. The Mets see Davis in 2011 and that’s conceivable. Scouts are saying he has 30 homer potential, but they don’t like his propensity for striking out, saying it will drag down the rest of his game.

Nov 04

Don’t rush the kid ….

We had some interesting talk on a thread yesterday about the Mets’ penchant for rushing players through their minor league system, often to his detriment. One name mentioned was Jenrry Mejia, whom manager Jerry Manuel is wondering if he could help next year in the bullpen.

DON’T DO IT.

Manuel is being seduced by Mejia fastball. To be sure, it is electric, producing nine strikeouts in 7.2 innings in the Arizona Fall League. Definitely eye opening, as are his nine walks and 11 runs on 14 hits. Ouch.

Numbers like that make you beg for the days of Aaron Heilman and Sean Green.
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