Diamondbacks will Evaluate Humberto Mejía

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The Arizona Diamondbacks will now evaluate Humberto Mejía. In what has been a disappointing and dreadful year for them, Manager Torey Lovullo and the coaches will evaluate their pitching prospects for the final month of the season in order to see what they have for 2022.

Final Month

When the Diamondbacks evaluate Mejía, they will look to see his style and how he pitches the last month of the season. As of this writing, Mejía has appeared in two games and has 10 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched. Although he didn’t pick up a win in either game that he pitched in, he has looked decent. That is something the Diamondbacks certainly need.

Started with the Marlins

Mejía signed with the Miami Marlins as a free agent back in 2013. However, he did not play in a professional game until 2015 due to shoulder injuries. Finally getting to pitch, he was assigned to the Dominican Summer League Marlins. He had a 3-3 record with a 1.69 ERA. In 2016, Mejía spent time with both the GCL Marlins and the Batavia Muckdogs, going 4–5 with a 2.90 ERA. Another shoulder injury kept him from play in 2017. Mejía was back with the Muckdogs in 2018. In 2019, he split the season between the Clinton LumberKings and the Jupiter Hammerheads, going a combined 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA.

Surprise Marlins Call-up in 2020

During the 60-game 2020 MLB season, Mejía was a surprise addition to the Marlins alternate site. Due to injuries to their staff, he was recalled from Miami’s alternate training site in FL even though he hadn’t pitched higher than Class A baseball. He had two starts and one relief appearance in his time with the big-league club. He finished with two losses and a 5.40 ERA. Mejía was optioned back to the alternate site and was considered a September call-up to finish the 2020 MLB season.

Arrival in Arizona

On August 31, 2020, Mejía, Caleb Smith, and Julio Frias were traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Starling Marte. Though ranked #29 in the Marlins top prospects list, he was never mentioned as a future arm, starter or bullpen. It seemed to appear Mejía had been one of their most curious but forgotten pitching prospects as most scouts overlooked him.

2021 Season

Mejía began Spring Training 2021 with Visa problems. He didn’t see much action and was assigned to Double-A, Amarillo. He moved to Triple-A, Reno in early June. In 12 games, he was 5-4 with a 5.93 ERA. With the Diamondbacks’ need to see their younger pitchers, he was called up to the big-league team. He started this past Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Though he didn’t factor in Monday’s 6-5 loss, he looked like he had full composure and did not appear nervous. Mejía allowed two runs on six hits and two walks over five innings and struck out seven. On Saturday, the 24-year-old right-hander gave up a lot of hard-contact hits, including back-to-back homers in the third inning. In the end, he battled his way through six innings. He ended up allowing four runs off of eight hits while striking out three, walking one, and throwing 90 pitches.

Pitching Style

When the Diamondbacks evaluate Humberto Mejía in the final month, they will watch his pitching style and determine what he can bring to the club. They could see him as a backend starter, but he certainly has the tools to be a relief pitcher. Mejía shows off a four-seam fastball, which can hit 90-93 MPH. He shows a decent curveball, and has a changeup that should become a usable third pitch. His time in the minors has shown that he has some steady control and can get ground-ball-outs.

Starter or Reliever

When the Diamondbacks evaluate Humberto Mejía, they will also look to see if he can be a starter or reliever. He has been a starter most of his career in the minors but does have some relief appearances. His curveball could make him useful as a reliever. He also might throw his fastball harder, which could prove more valuable in shorter stints as a relief pitcher. The Diamondbacks would love to think that, given his reputation as a strike-thrower and really good control/command pitcher, he could wind up being a backend starter. However, he could also be seen as a set-up pitcher or even a closer. As we know, the Diamondbacks need all the pitching help, especially bullpen arms, that they can get. A pitcher who could possibly fit all the roles, from starter to closer, would come in handy.

Forget 2021 Pitching

The Diamondbacks would like to forget this season as soon as it is over. Starters have been inconsistent and cannot get past five innings most of the time. The bullpen has been horrendous. They’ve already given up 250+ plus runs, and there are still 30 games to play. Diamondbacks pitching will finish at or near the bottom of every pitching category in baseball. This could perhaps be their most dismal pitching season in franchise history.

Their quest for improvement in the off-season will lead to another Diamondbacks pitching depth chart upheaval. They will enter Spring Training, 2022, with a group of young unproven pitchers. Hopefully, with the experience that Mejía gets now, he can be one of the pitchers this team can rely on next season–whether as a starter, a reliever, or even the closer.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:

Humberto Mejía, Caleb Smith, Julio Frias, Starling Marte