The Chicago Cubs keep bringing in interesting depth. Just yesterday, we discussed the Cubs’ signing of Jesus Guzman to provide depth behind Anthony Rizzo and the corner outfielders. Before Guzman, there had been a slew of other minor league depth moves.
The latest minor league deal belongs to is right-handed relief pitcher Miguel Mejia.
Mejia, 27, is an elusive character, because there isn’t a ton of information out there on the relatively young righty. Standing at 6’2″ 210 lbs, Mejia is a big pitcher who’s had an interesting journey. Born in Brooklyn, NY, Mejia went to high school in Puerto Rico and junior college in Florida. He started pitching for the Tigers (I say started pitching, because it appears that he went undrafted and signed a contract with Detroit, at some point) in 2009. He pitched in their minor league system, out of the bullpen, from 2009-2010, before moving to the Marlins from 2010-2011. In those three years, he never made it past High-A and eventually started playing internationally.
From 2011 – 2014, Mejia pitched in relief for the Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League. Then, in 2015, he pitched a little bit for the Saitama Seibu Lions in the NPB in Japan, before returning to Puerto Rico this offseason.
And now, for 2016, he will be back in affiliated baseball, pitching somewhere in the Cubs’ organization. I told you, an interesting journey.
In his first two years of the Puerto Rican Winter League, though, his strikeout rate began to fall off a bit. He finished with just 5.5 K/9 in 2011 and just 3.5 K/9 in 2012, before making a resurgence in 2013, where it spiked back up to 11.3 K/9. For reasons unknown to me, he threw just 1 innings in 2014, before making his way to Japan in 2015. Again in 2015, he pitched an extremely low total (6.2 innings) for unknown reasons, but he kept his strike out ways going (12.2 K/9), even though his walks crept up 4.0 BB/9.
The samples are all so small, though, that it’s really hard to know much of anything beyond “the Cubs liked what they saw enough to sign him and give him a shot.”
We might not know a lot about Mejia’s past – though that may begin to clear up as he returns to the States – but we can follow his future. If he can reclaim his penchant for striking batters out and avoiding the walk, he might be a useful piece. At just 27 years old, with less than 230 professional innings on his arm, if he’s healthy, at least Mejia should have plenty left in the tank.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.