2/17/16

D-Whit - Jenry's Wild Ride in Metsland- A Look Back

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Mejia Strikes Out of MLB


"Hey! Who spiked my drink with Boldenone?" 

“What’s not to like about this kid? At 19 years old, Mejia posted a 1.97 ERA in 50.1 High-A innings. Bumped up to Double-A Binghamton, his superficial numbers look weak (0-5, 4.47 ERA), but his peripherals are still solid. He’s suffering from a .350 BABIP thanks in part to a mediocre defense; however, he has a 3.49 FIP and has struck out 47 batters in just 44.1 innings. His walks have increased a tick, but with his age and talent, Mejia could find his way into some Top 50 (or higher) prospect lists this year.” -2009 Hardball Times in an article about top Met prospects.



It had to happen to this franchise didn’t it? The first ever lifetime ban for performance enhancing drugs would be a Met.  Of course it would. As Mets fans we knew that the Cespedes signing would be offset by some kind of bizarre karmic boomerang. And exactly three weeks later "boiinng" it happened. The lifetime banning of Jenrry Meijia adds another surreal twist to the history of the team that once lost 120 games, had a player traded for himself, wound up players in an historic ponzi scheme and now this.  In regards to Meijia has there ever been a more star-crossed player in Met history? 

Don’t believe me? 

Let’s take a look back at Jenrry’s wild ride with the Mets:

2007-He is signed out of the Dominican Republic at age 17 as an amateur free-agent. 

2008-Leaps onto the prospect radar at 18 as a SP after a combined 5-2 2.89 67 K’s in short-season A-ball with GCL Mets and in Brooklyn. 

2009-The then 19 year-old enters the season as the seventh-ranked Met prospect according to John Sickels. He leapfrogs Savannah for St. Lucie, tears it up there (4-1 1.97 44 K’s) and finishes winless (0-5) at AA Binghamton but still averages 9.5 K per nine IP there.

2010-Sickel’s names him the #1 Met prospect. He sees Mejia as a potential ace but closes his review with a prophetic, “I hope they don’t rush him.” Oops, rush him they did. Meijia makes his MLB debut at 20 in April as a reliever for a beleaguered Met bullpen. After pitching 30 games as a reliever (0-2 3.25 17 K’s) into late June the Mets reverse course-it won’t be the last time they do this-sending him down to the B-Mets to stretch out as a starter for a September call-up. Three horrible late season big league starts balloon his season ERA to 4.62. This raises questions about both his arm health and whether he’s better off starting or relieving in the future.

2011-Mejia begins the season starting in Buffalo. In his fifth start he leaves after just four innings with elbow soreness. A few days later he’s diagnosed with a complete tear of his medial collateral ligament and later undergoes Tommy John surgery. He won’t pitch again until 2012. 

It was a long road back to the mound.  

From an Andy McCullough article on NJ.com in March 2012:
 
“The rebirth of Jenrry Mejia will occur quietly. Ten months removed from the operating table, he will not pitch in a game until May. In the time since his career trajectory forever changed, he leaned on friends for support, embraced the toil of rehabilitation and altered his throwing to reduce stress on his arm. In turn, team officials remain bullish on his future. Mejia maintains his zeal for the work through simple motivation. "Because I don’t want to go back to surgery," he said. "I want to keep going on."

2012-After a few months rehabbing in the minors Mejia makes first MLB appearance in almost two years on September 7th and ends up pitching in 5 games (3 starts) with just 8 K’s and a 5.63 ERA. The soon to be 23 year-old was at an early career crossroads entering 2013.

2013-The year starts ominously with elbow inflammation sidelining him and reaches its nadir when he’s transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for newly signed outfielder Rick Ankiel. Let that sink in for a moment. Then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, he returns to the major’s with a bang, blanking Washington over seven innings with 7 K’s. He followed that up with three more solid starts. But, in what was a pattern with Mejia, something would happen to cut his Met season short. This time it was bone spurs in his elbow. After trying to pitch through it he had to leave an August start against the Padres after hurling just three innings. He was shut down and required surgery to have the bone spurs removed.

2014-In retrospect this season looks like it will be the high water mark of Mejia’s career. But as usual things started out differently than they would end. He began the season in the rotation then was switched to the bullpen where he finished as the closer. As a starter he had control issues and was 3-0 with a 5.06 ERA. After switching to the bullpen, however, he turned in a 2.72 ERA with 28 saves and 9.6 K’s per nine. Mejia also became a fan favorite with his demonstrative actions on the mound. He finally seemed to have found his place or so it seemed.

"If we start the season and Jenrry is the closer and he is dealing, he's going to be the closer," -Terry Collins, 2/21/15 nj.com.

2015-The follow up season to a relative calm 2014 went south early and never looked back. Although Mejia started the season as closer he wouldn’t pitch in a game until July 12th. Early season elbow stiffness while warming up for a potential opening day save started a series of events that took him from major league closer to persona non gratis on the MLB diamond. First a positive test for the steroid Stanozolol put him out of actions for 80 games. As a result he lost his closer role to Jeurys Familia but returned as the 7th inning set-up man on July 12th. Before the month was up he was tested for steroids again, this time for two steroids, adding Boldenone to the mix. This second infraction would sideline Mejia for 162 games. Lesson learned, right? Well, not quite…

We all know what's happened since. In the span of less than a year he’s been caught three times for steroid use. Nobody’s gotten that kind of hat trick before in sports! If you’re gonna flame out go big or go home huh Jenrry?


1 comments:

Thomas Brennan said...

Great synopsis, D Whit. I remember the game in 2011 he hurt his elbow, it was about 30 degrees with a wind chill factor.

Career suicide. Brings to mind Elliott Spitzer and Anthony Weiner, AKA Carlos Danger.

Mack's Mets © 2012