Jenry Mejia a Starter or Reliever?
Jenry Mejia is on the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery and the Mets will soon have to decide where he fits into the team’s future. to this point in his career, Mejia has predominantly a reliever in the majors and been a starter in the minors to this point in his career.There is no questioning Mejia’s ability with a 96mph fastball that naturally cuts and at times he has a nasty breaking pitch. The problem Mejia faces is getting through a lineup multiple times without a consistent third or forth pitch.Here are some options the Mets could pursue this year to fit Mejia into the team once he is fully healthy:Option 1: Place Mejia in a late inning relief role immediately after he’s healthy. This would help the ailing bullpen and allow him to max out his fastball in short stints and hopefully dominate late in games.Option 2: Insert Mejia into the fifth starter spot in the Major Leagues replacing Miguel Batista. This will allow the team to get a true sense right away if Mejia can become a quality Major League starter. Based on the stats below he has already proven he can handle minor league hitters as a starter. Over 81 2/3 innings starting in the minors from 2010-2012, Mejia has a 2 ERA and about an 8K/9 over the same time.Option 3: Move Mejia to the Triple-A rotation so he can work on his pitches and mechanics in less stressful situations. Do this to see if he can start successfully but if he doesn’t do well, the Mets can move him to the bullpen later this year or next.Option 4: Trust Mejia’s stuff and continue to let him start in the Minors/Majors for as long as needed so he can become a successful Major League starter or “flame out”.There is some logic in all of these options, however, the most prudent would probably be the third option. The Mets should let Mejia start in Triple-A once he’s healthy and see if he can prove he has developed at least a third pitch that is major league quality. If not they can shift him to the bullpen.The Mets need to start Mejia to see if he can start successfully. Starters have so much more value than relievers, that it would be negligent not to let Mejia start. There are unfortunately some significant doubts about whether he can be effective as a starter and equally as important, if he can stay healthy.I think Mejia will end up in the bullpen. I’m concerned about his health when pitching 200+ innings a season, however, I think he can be a shutdown reliever for years to come. The Mets will probably call Mejia up sometime this year and the only question will be in what capacity he will play.