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Article: TD Top Prospects: #7 Adalberto Mejia

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 09:27 PM

Cloudy bad seasons are supposed to provide some trade deadline silver linings. Left-handed starting pitching prospect Adalberto Mejia is the shiniest bauble the Twins acquired at last year’s deadline, but that’s about the only time you’ll see the adjective shiny in a sentence about Mejia. His strength is that he’s very likely to contribute to a MLB organization, rather than dazzle with enticing upside.Age: 23 (DOB: 6/20/93)
2016 Stats (AA/AAA): 132 IP, 3.00 ERA, 126/30 K/BB, 1.12 WHIP
ETA: 2017
2016 Ranking: N/A

National Top 100 Rankings
BA: NR | MLB: NR | ESPN: NR | BP: NR

The Twins acquired Mejia last year when they traded Eduardo Nunez to the San Francisco Giants. Mejia signed with the Giants in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic, was in Low-A ball by 2012 and has basically climbed a level per year. The exception was a repeat of AA in 2015, which was likely the result of a 50-game suspension for using a banned stimulant.

He’s had decent overall success – his career ERA in the minors is 3.70 – and was well-regarded but the southpaw with the low to mid 90s fastball never posted eye-popping numbers. That changed a bit last year for the 23-year-old as his strikeout rate in AAA climbed to more than one per inning and his walk rate plummeted to 1.9 BB/9. The prevailing theory was that the hefty Mejia’s improvement was at least partly due to losing some weight and gaining some conditioning in 2016.

What’s To Like
He checks a lot of boxes. He’s left-handed. He’s had success and been fairly durable. He’s just 23 years old. Last year he had an awfully good strikeout and walk rate despite moving up to AAA. He has a decent fastball and a slider that he can use effectively versus left-handers (who had just a .548 OPS against him last year) and a changeup for right-handers (.694 OPS against). Finally, he’s very close to major-league ready right now, if he’s not already there.

What’s Left To Work On
What you see is what you get. There isn’t a lot of upside here; Mejia's fastball isn’t likely to get any faster and the other pitches, while good, aren’t great. There will always be concerns about his conditioning. His walk rate and strikeout rate in AA in 2014 and 2015 were both pretty pedestrian, so it's essential he carry 2016 forward. His stuff suggests he’s unlikely to make an immediate positive impact in the majors; there are probably going to be some additional growing pains.

What’s Next
Mejia has an outside chance to break camp with the Twins, but he’s arguably eighth in the pecking order for the rotation’s five spots. Instead, it is far more likely that he’ll return to Rochester as a starting pitcher and compete for a chance to fill in a rotation spot when it becomes available. I’ll be surprised if Twins fans don’t see him at some point this year.

There really is no hurry here. Mejia is just 23 years old and he has two option years left. Development is still the priority for Mejia, unless the Twins end up with a far more competitive team than we expect.

Long-term, his upside is that of a durable and effective mid-rotation left-handed starting pitcher, which would have enormous value for the Twins. At the very least, a career as an effective left-handed reliever appears within reach, especially if he can pump up that fastball a bit in shorter stints.

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#2 D.C Twins

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 09:58 PM

I'm simultaneously happy that we managed to get him for Nunez but sad that he is our #7 prospect.

 

I'm more curious about the slot of Garver...I feel like "good chance to be an average to above average starting catcher" is better than "a young wild card slugger", "an wild card batter without a clear defensive capability anywhere in the infield yet",  "a young pitcher with promise but a potential fatal K/BB flaw." and a "if everything breaks right, he could very well be a back of the rotation starter!"

 

But most importantly, I've never seen any of these guys play in person, so I'm honestly interested in what better baseball minds and eyes have to say.  Did anyone on the TD staff rate Garver higher? 

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#3 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 09:59 PM

I think enough of Mejia that I'd have him start the season in the MLB rotation.
And yes, I know that won't happen and that not many will agree.

#4 Seth Stohs

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 12:23 AM

 

But most importantly, I've never seen any of these guys play in person, so I'm honestly interested in what better baseball minds and eyes have to say.  Did anyone on the TD staff rate Garver higher? 

 

I did a little research:

 

 

Rankings............ Mejia ...............Garver

Nick  ......................7 .................... 12

Seth  .....................12 ................... 11

Jeremy ..................8 .....................10

Cody .....................8 ..................... 13

 

BB Am ...................6 ......................17

BB Pro .................. 8 .................... No Mention

Min Lg Ball ............ 7 ......................15

MLB Pipeline ..........9 ......................21

 

 

Mejia was a great get for Nunez, in my opinion... he just looks a little Mjaresque to me... not that I'm one to speak... 

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#5 DocBauer

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 01:15 AM

As prospects with upside, I think you'd have to go with Jay and Gonsalves ahead of him. Still a solid #3-5 LHSP is nothing to be sneeze at. In an ideal world, you'd have 2 lefties in your rotation, 1 at or near the top, and a second quality one lower in your pecking order. The Twins currently have 3 to fill 2 spots. That's not too shabby. When encourages me is the seeming improvement of the last season in which he seems to have improved despite climbing higher levels. Is it conditioning? Refinement? A combination of both? Who cares as long as he's actually showing improvement.
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#6 HitInAPinch

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:56 AM

 

As prospects with upside, I think you'd have to go with Jay and Gonsalves ahead of him. Still a solid #3-5 LHSP is nothing to be sneeze at. In an ideal world, you'd have 2 lefties in your rotation, 1 at or near the top, and a second quality one lower in your pecking order. The Twins currently have 3 to fill 2 spots. That's not too shabby. When encourages me is the seeming improvement of the last season in which he seems to have improved despite climbing higher levels. Is it conditioning? Refinement? A combination of both? Who cares as long as he's actually showing improvement.

At 23 yrs., Mejia may be hitting his prime.I sometimes takes players time to get past the 'natural talent' and start dedicating themselves to physical fitness and the art of pitching.I'm leaning heavily on the positive side and saying:he could be one of those guys.J. Santana built a fabulous career on a circle-change and a nice fastball he could spot.Not saying Mejia will ever approach J. Santana as a pitcher, but if he follows his current path, he could be in the Twins rotation.

 

 

Personally, I would have kept Nunez.He added a lot of excitement to the team every day.

One way or another  ;)

It's not my fault !


#7 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 06:48 AM

I'm not quite sure why people are so down on him. He was more than I thought we'd get for Nunez. If that K rate continues, he can be more than a back of the rotation kind of guy. The question is whether 2016 happened b/c he got lucky or b/c something clicked.

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#8 MN_ExPat

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 07:45 AM

I'd have to agree on Mejia.Only saw highlights of his start last year, and while it may not have been overwhelming stuff, he looked like he could be effective and possess the ability to keep his team in the game.

 

Just like I tell my son when he pitches, you don't have to throw faster than the other kids... Just throw strikes, hit your spots and keep your team in the game.


#9 ThejacKmp

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 07:52 AM

I'm not quite sure why people are so down on him. He was more than I thought we'd get for Nunez. If that K rate continues, he can be more than a back of the rotation kind of guy. The question is whether 2016 happened b/c he got lucky or b/c something clicked.


#4 starters regularly get $10 mill per year these days, he absolutely has enormous value. He's not sexy with upside but his floor is pretty high too. Even if he never fits the twins rotation (say he's lapped by our AA quartet) he'll have considerable value as a trade chip. Would love to see him get 5-6 mlb starts and make a name for himself.
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#10 clutterheart

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 07:54 AM

Has anyone seen any earlier spring reports on him?  Has he reported to camp?  Has he ballooned or did he work on his conditioning in the offseason?

 


#11 JaleelWhite FanClub

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 07:56 AM

Mejia was a great get for Nunez for sure. But I'm in the boat that so far #7-10 have been kind of let-downs. But I think we've been spoiled over the past few seasons with stud prospects.

 

I also agree with the thinking that Garver was ranked too low. I'd take on-field success in the upper minors more than projections of teenagers in rookie and Low A ball. Garver, a major-league ready catcher who has '+' talent offensively and defensively, has to be in the Twins Top-10, especially considering what we've seen at #7-10.

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#12 nicksaviking

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 08:10 AM

 

 

 

Mejia was a great get for Nunez, in my opinion... he just looks a little Mjaresque to me... not that I'm one to speak... 

 

For some reason left handers seem to be able to pull this off. David Wells, CC Sabatthia, Carlos Silva, Eddie Guardado.

 

Also, for some reason velocity tends to play up for lefties.

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#13 gunnarthor

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 08:19 AM

Why did Mejia only get 2 innings in the majors last year?  That really bugged me.  Unless he was hurt, the Twins really screwed up by not giving him a few spot starts down the line.

 

I like Mejia.  He is what he is but that's not a bad thing.  Relatively high floor with that lower ceiling.  I like having him in the pitching depth line over guys like Walters and Albers.  Most of the national write ups on him have been relatively kind as well.  

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#14 Dantes929

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 08:24 AM

 

For some reason left handers seem to be able to pull this off. David Wells, CC Sabatthia, Carlos Silva, Eddie Guardado.

 

Also, for some reason velocity tends to play up for lefties.

Silva?

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#15 Han Joelo

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 08:28 AM

We should do a season long cage match smackdown thread titled "Meija V. Deleon".
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#16 Taildragger8791

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 08:32 AM

I think enough of Mejia that I'd have him start the season in the MLB rotation.
And yes, I know that won't happen and that not many will agree.

 
That might be a more popular opinion than you think. I sense there's a little more positivity around Mejia since he's basically found money, being acquired in the Nunez trade instead of coming up as a top prospect that we invested heavily in (resource-wise by the team, and emotionally by the fans).

 

I personally wouldn't mind seeing him in the rotation out of spring training if he shows well. I think the guy could be a decent back-end starter and if we don't audition him soon he's going to get passed up for opportunities by the crew at AA.
 
But with the long list of guys ahead of him I'm assuming he'll be in AAA for a while, barring injuries. At least that'll create some drama so we get to have an interesting debate later this year on who the next call-ups should be. :lol:

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#17 Thrylos

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 08:54 AM

I'd say that Mejia should probably be a bit ahead of Santiago as far as the pecking order for LHSP goes.  20.4 K-BB% in Rochester and 18.6 K-BB% in the PCL are pretty impressive numbers (and numbers that Santiago never hit in his career at any level.) And his ceiling is not that much lower than Gonsalves's at this point.  Might not realize it by looking at their careers but Mejia is just one year older than Gonsalves.

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#18 Nick Nelson

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 09:26 AM

 

I'm simultaneously happy that we managed to get him for Nunez but sad that he is our #7 prospect.

Baseball America had him as the No. 5 prospect in the Giants system at midseason last year. I don't think you should be disappointed by this.

 

I get that people want the huge prospect upside, but as lefty with good control and the ability to miss some bats, Mejia is a very safe bet to contribute positively in some form. And based on reports I've heard about his improving slider, I think his ceiling is a tad higher than John suggests. But (as you can see from Seth's breakdown of individual rankings above) I'm higher on this one than most.

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#19 Steve Lein

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 09:29 AM

 

Also, for some reason velocity tends to play up for lefties.

 

It's the natural arm-side run they get. That's why an 80 fastball in scouting terms is a few ticks lower for lefty's than it is righty's.

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#20 FormerMinnasotan

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 09:34 AM

I hope we get to see a lot of Mejia in the Twins rotation (along with Berrios and hopefully Gonsalves). I was impressed with the trade to get Mejia and he should be ready to pitch in the rotation this year.
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