Mets Will Transition Mejia To Starting

ESPN's Adam Rubin reports that the Mets have optioned Jenrry Mejia to Double-A Binghamton, where he will make the transition back into a starting pitcher.

Mejia, still just 20 years old, worked exclusively as a starter across two minor league levels last season, posting a 3.14 ERA in 94.2 innings (19 starts) and notching an 8.7 K/9 to go along with a 3.7 BB/9. So far, pitching out of the New York bullpen in 2010, he's held his own, though he hasn't pitched quite as well as his 3.25 ERA following today's game suggests. He's allowed 15 free passes in just 27.2 innings of work, while striking out 17.

Much has been made of the Mets' starting pitching woes. After receiving next to nothing from the combination of Oliver Perez and John Maine, they've turned to Hisanori Takahashi and R.A. Dickey, both of whom have excelled to this point in their respective rotation roles. However, it's likely a tall order to expect those trends to continue.

Mejia certainly has the makings of a successful major league starter. Baseball America ranked him as the Mets' top prospect coming into the 2010 season, and ranked him as the #56 prospect in all of baseball. So far this season, he's averaged 95.1mph on his fastball, and has a 66.7% ground-ball rate.

Those numbers mesh with this report from Baseball America's Ben Badler last November, stating that Mejia routinely sat in the mid-90's with a fastball that he could both cut and sink. That same pitch helped him induce grounders on 71% of his outs on balls in play during the 2009 minor league season.

We've heard the Mets mentioned in connection with available starters such as Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee, but stretching out Mejia gives them added depth in the event that their current starters falter, or Omar Minaya is unable to facilitate a trade.


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