AA Saturday: All About Jenrry Mejia’s Return to AA

AA: @ Binghamton Mets 5, Portland Sea Dogs 2 (7 innings)
@ Binghamton Mets 6, Portland Sea Dogs (BOS) 0  (7 innings)

 

Mejia ST 2012 (Baron)Jenrry Mejia in his first rehab start in AA in game two: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

After the game, Mejia told Lynn Worthy, “Now, I feel like I can throw (with) more consistency. (I can) throw my curveball for strikes, my change-up, two-seamer.” According to Worthy, Mejia was sitting 93-94 on the Binghamton stadium gun, which is usually fairly close to accurate.

Mejia’s a fascinating case study. Since he was foolishly jumped to the big leagues in the 2010, he actually has not had that much success in the minors, and when he has had success with a nice, pretty low ERA, he did so without the usual statistical markers in dominant strikeout and walk rates that suggest that he is ready to thrive in the big leagues.

2010, AA: 6 starts, 1.32 ERA BUT 14 walks in 27.1 IP for a walk rate of 12.6%. League average walk rate was 8.8%.
2011, AAA: 5 starts, 2.86 ERA BUT 21 K/14 BB in 28.1 IP for a walk rate of 12.4% and a strikeout rate of 18.5%. The International League walk rate was 8.5% with a 19.7% strikeout rate.
2012, AAA: 26 games, 10 starts, 3.54 ERA BUT 39/24 K/BB for a 12.5% strikeout rate. The International League walk rate was 8.9% with a 19.3% strikeout rate.

Statistically speaking, I think there’s a really strong argument that Mejia has never really conquered AA. When he was last there as a full-timer, in 2009, he had a 4.47 ERA and a 11.3% walk rate in 10 starts. He’s not the same pitcher he was four years ago – he’s been through the big leagues and surgery – to name two obvious differences. Still the Mets tried skipping steps with Mejia and the results have been poor – he has been a non-factor in the team’s big league fortunes for the last four seasons.

If it were up to me, Mejia would stay at Binghamton this time around until he really proves he is too good for the league. And yes, that means he needs to show a strikeout AND walk rate better than Eastern League average.

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