Why The Twins’ Adalberto Mejia May Be Nothing More Than A Place Holder

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When the decision was made to send Jose Berrios to Triple-A to start the season, most figured his rotation spot would be handed to Tyler Duffey. Instead the Twins have tabbed Adalberto Mejia, who we ranked sixth among Twins’ prospects, to act as the Opening Day placeholder.

Acquired as part of the Eduardo Nunez trade, Mejia split time between Double and Triple-A last season and pitched to an impressive 3.00 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 132.0 innings. He showed strikeouts (8.6 K/9) and control (2.0 BB/9), both of which are promising marks. Control has always been his strongest skill, with a 2.1 BB/9, but strikeouts are a bit of a new thing (7.7 K/9 for his career) and hardly a guarantee to continue.

Here’s how MLB.com described him recently, which certainly calls into question his ability to maintain the strikeouts:

“Long term, there is no question Mejia is a starting pitcher, one who is more about pitchability than he is pure stuff. He does have a good mix, albeit without a plus pitch, of four offerings, all of which he can throw for strikes. His fastball sits in the low 90s and can touch 95 mph and he throws it with some sink. His changeup is key to his success and it’s an above-average offspeed offering that also has some tumble to it. He throws both a slider and curve, though he throws the former much more frequently and can land it in the strike zone with more consistency.”

The strikeout rate isn’t the only question facing the left-handed pitcher moving forward:

1) Conditioniong – Listed at 6’3″ and 195 lbs, there are reports that he’s heavier than that

2) Suspension – Mejia did miss 50 games in 2015 due to a suspension, though he put that behind him last season

3) Ability vs. Right-Handed Hitters – Take a look at his BAA from Double-A last season:

  • vs. RHH – .218
  • vs. LHH – .161

The average against RHH ballooned to .288 at Triple-A, so it certainly can’t be ignored.

4) Home Runs – He owns a career 0.87 GO/AO in the minors, and that could translate to home run issues in the Majors.

Is there ability? Absolutely, though he doesn’t have the same type of ceiling as a prospect like Berrios. Instead he appears primed to be a back end starter, and should only be keeping the seat warm until the Twins decide Berrios is stretched out and ready. Mejia has a future in the Majors, but don’t expect big production (especially in ’17).

Current Grade – B
Upside Grade – B

Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Baseball Reference

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Grading System:
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

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