It's outings like these that make the New York Mets look smart for considering using a 20-year-old as a set-up man in their bullpen this year.
Jenrry Mejia faced seven Marlins on Friday, retiring all of them, four by strikeout, reports Marty Noble of MLB.com. He dominated hitters with his 94-95 mph sinking cutter, which hitters have reportedly mistaken for a slider because of its movement.
What began as a far-fetched notion based on ridiculous comparisons, the Mets' idea of breaking camp with Mejia in their bullpen looks smarter and smarter after performances like this. The question still remains, however, whether it would be more beneficial for Mejia to go back down to the minors and work towards becoming an ace starter.
Mejia has impressed so far this spring, dominating primarily with one pitch. It's a cutter with movement that combines that of a slider and a sinker. He also throws a curveball and a changeup, both of which need refinement. Despite his effectiveness with just one pitch this spring, don't the Mets owe it to Mejia and to themselves to give him a chance to add to his repertoire and fulfill his potential as an ace starting pitcher?
Mejia has thrown only 44 1/3 innings above A-ball and has battled control during his minor league career. Even if he fails to improve his off-speed pitches, there is nothing that would prevent him from returning to a relief role and having any less success than the Mets believe he can have now.
The Mets cannot possibly justify keeping him in the majors in April. Even if he goes to the minors and has success, he would still be a great August call-up for their bullpen down the stretch. The opportunity to stretch out his arm, work on his off-speed pitches, and refine his game can only benefit him in the long run, whereas rushing him to the majors could ultimately stunt his development.