Jenrry Mejia Is a Lethal Weapon: Jerry Manuel Needs to Use Him Properly

Christopher RahnContributor IMay 28, 2010

NEW YORK - MAY 09: Jenrry Mejia #32 of the New York Mets pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field on May 9, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Jenrry Mejia is a future closer.

If we all haven't learned from the mistakes the Yankees have made with Joba Chamberlin, can you please go back a couple years to when Joba made his debut?

He was an instant impact pitcher who had remarkable stuff. The Yankees weren't afraid to use him in tough spots, and he excelled when called upon.

But instead of embracing the success Joba had in the bullpen, the Yankees tried to turn him into the starter they believed he was meant to be. However, Chamberlain's style of pitching better suited him to pitch as a reliever.

I can't help but to compare Mejia to Chamberlin. Mejia throws pitches that you can't teach someone to throw—pitches that other pitchers can only dream of throwing, that with experience of how, when, and where to throw them are unhittable.

When you can throw an upper 90s fastball on the hands of a batter, there is nothing a good hitter can do about it. Mejia's signature pitch is similar to a Mariano Rivera cutter; it's a heavy ball that will get in on the hands.

I'm not saying Mejia is the next Mariano Rivera, but I am saying the natural ability he that he possesses is not something you see every day.

Mejia is young, as was Joba when he made his debut, and these guys can throw often and hard. But once you make a transition to become a starter, it becomes difficult to throw every pitch 97 mph for more than five innings. So starting pitchers are taught to pace themselves and not put everything you have into every pitch.

A guy like Mejia has electric stuff, so why would you want him putting 90 percent into every pitch when he is unhittable when he puts everything into a pitch? When you come out of the bullpen, you don't have to worry about saving yourself for the next inning.

Now here is the Joba comparison. When Joba made the transition to become a starting pitcher, he struggled with pitch count for a couple reasons. Joba was told to tone it down and try to let guys bat themselves into outs.

As a starting pitcher your job is to get through as many innings as possible throwing as few pitches as possible. Therefore, you're not trying to strike every guy out. Joba struggled with this; he's a strikeout guy.

Joba would throw 20-pitch innings on the regular, which makes it difficult to throw more than five innings per start. This is the same kind of struggle that I see Mejia having because of his control problems. I know he is young and that he may develop and become a good strike thrower, but I feel his style of pitching is better suited for relief work.

To be honest, I'd rather have my pitcher with the best stuff pitching more than once every five days—and I'd rather have him pitching in a game when my team has the lead. Mejia is young and should be capable of throwing an inning every other day.

Now here's what the Mets have to do with him: Use him!

You've got a guy with electric stuff who will only get better with more experience. So why is he sitting out in the bullpen when he clearly has the most dominant stuff out there? Yes, I am including Francisco Rodriguez.

In fact, let's compare him to a young K-Rod. Young pitchers are hard to hit because they haven't been seen by hitters before. K-Rod came up in 2002 when the Angels won the World Series, and he was so dominant in the playoffs because he had electric stuff. His manager wasn't afraid to use him.

Jerry Manuel has to let this guy loose on the league. Don't make him think by giving him instructions—just send him out there and tell him to do what he does best: Get guys out.

What's the point of having a lethal weapon when you're just going to leave it on the wall for show?