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Correction: Jennry Mejia will remain in the pen

May 24, 2010, 9:48 AM EST

jenrry mejia headshot mets.JPGLast week it seemed like the Mets were about to do something wise and send Jennry Mejia down to the minors in order to allow him to revert back into a starting pitcher, thereby providing the promise of greater value to the organization one day.  Then they backed up a little and said, no, we may just turn him into a starter at the major league level.  Not as wise, but in the grand scheme of things I suppose that’s better than keeping him in the pen.

Forget any wisdom now, however, because they’re just gonna keep him in the pen after all:

“We’ve discussed him at length many times, as far as what’s right
for him, what’s right for the team . . . basically, [keeping him in the pen] was the plan all along. We felt that
Igarashi can handle the eighth, and we need someone to handle the
seventh and I wanted to see Mejia pitch in this environment.”

Says the New York Post: “The deciding factor, according to Manuel, was that Mejia has been much
more effective in short outings than long ones.” Which is true for just about every pitcher. Bullpens are full of guys who couldn’t cut it was starters for exactly this reason, so I’m not sure why it weighs so heavily in Mejia’s case.

This is shortsighted decision by a guy who to whom short term success is more important than the long term health of the organization.  And that applies whether it was Omar Minaya or Jerry Manuel’s decision.

  1. Benny Blanco - May 24, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    I would prefer to see Mejia in the minors getting stretched out so he could be a starter sometime later this season, but this doesnt mean Mejia will be in the bullpen for the rest of his career.
    Right now he is contributing at the major league level which one can assume and hope will help him progress to one day be a starter. It didnt hurt Phil Hughes, so whats the difference?

  2. Trevor B - May 24, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    Benny, a lot of these younger pitchers under the age of 21 benefit a lot more from being in the minors over the majors in many different ways. They gain arm strenth, for starters, which is huge being a lot of 20 year olds still have a developing body. You don’t gain as much arm strength sitting in the pen pitching a couple times a week.
    Another benefit is that when you’re a reliver you’ll mostly throw the heat. This hinders you from further development of your offspeed pitches, and possibly even learning a new pitch to help you in the long run.
    Most important is it can kill a guy’s confidence. In the minors you develope a lot of confidence by starting, and finishing games. Some people might jab at the Nats for keeping Strasburg in the minors. Yeah, that is mostly about money, but imagine if Strasburg went straight to the majors and posted a 4.5 ERA. His confidence would quickly crumble under the criticism he’d receive and his game would suffer because of it.
    I look at a recent pitcher who’s starting game is struggling, probably due to the same situation, Justin Masterson. His off speed stuff is struggling, probably because he wasn’t able to stay in the minors and work his stuff, rather he was in the Sox Pen. Granted, yes he was a lot older than Mejia, but it still takes its toll.
    Craig is right, Mejia should stick to the minors for another season and he could be a huge asset to the Mets.

  3. Benny Blanco - May 24, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    Look what all that arm strength did for Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. All those inning arent always a good thing for a young arm either.
    I assume the coaches have him working on other pitches during practice, getting some work in, maybe taking advice from guys like Johan. Any part of you think pitching against major league talent like A-Rod at age 20 will help his confidence at age 25?
    The kid is young and full of potential. Working in the pen in 2010 does not automatically mean he wont be able to start in 2011, 2012, etc.
    As my first post said, I would love to see Mejia starting, but I dont find being in the bullpen as detrimental to his career as Craig does.

  4. Joey B - May 24, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    I think he should’ve been kept in the minors until he was ready, but you’re right, this used to be standard procedure for promoting prospects.

  5. Trevor B - May 24, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    Prior and Wood were vastly overworked in the Cubs rotation, to compare the minor leagues to them is stupid. You don’t see minor league starters rack up over 200 innings all too often. And yeah, might Johan give the kid some pointers? Heck yes! But if Buzz gave me pointers on flying a spaceship even though I’ve only flown a Cessna, it might be helpful in the future, but I’m still a long way away. Get my point mate? I’m not saying your wrong, I see where you’re coming from.

  6. Benny Blanco - May 24, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Point taken on Prior and Wood. Not the best of examples as they were extremely overworked. First names that came to mind.
    But comparing flying to pitching? I dont know man…

  7. KG - May 24, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    Another point is, keeping him as a reliever this year means the safe buildup of innings next year won’t allow him to be a full-time starter. The jump from 70 innings to ~180 innings is not safe, especially for a young kid like him. If he started this year in the minors, he’d get something like 140 innings or something, I’d think, and then could conceivably throw 170/80 innings next year.
    In addition to developing secondary pitches, etc.

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