New York Mets: Promising Pitching Prospects Look Bullpen Bound

Bradley Smith@@Bradley_Smith88Contributor IIIOctober 3, 2012

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 01:  Pitcher Jeurys Familia #27 of the New York Mets throws against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on October 1, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The New York Mets took advantage of September call-ups by bringing up Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia, two pitching prospects with overwhelming potential, to the active roster.

The Mets gave both pitchers a chance to prove what they can do at the major league level. The two right-handers made a few appearances each, with a couple of starts sprinkled in as well.

The results proved there is still a lot of work to be done with both.

Familia made his first start Monday against the Miami Marlins. He went four innings, allowing only one hit but had six walks. His control was all over the place. Only 33 out of the 75 pitches thrown were for strikes.

That start pushes Familia's stat line to 12.1 innings pitched in eight appearances with an ERA of 5.84. He has allowed a total of 19 runners on base during those appearances.

A lot cannot be concluded from his short workload, but one thing is for certain, Familia needs to work on getting pitches over the plate. Mets manager Terry Collins recognizes that.

Wally [Backman] said it on the bench -- that's been [Familia's] problem, the base on balls. But you saw, when he's over the plate, they don't hit him. I know Dan [Warthen] was talking to him between innings. He said to him twice: 'Make them swing the bat. Make them hit the ball. Go out there with the idea you're going to make them hit the ball,' because his stuff is quality and they're not going to get a lot of barrel on it. (via Adam Rubin,

Jenrry Mejia got another taste of the majors this season after the he made the Mets Opening Day roster in 2010. That experiment failed because he just was not ready to make the full-time contribution.

After working back from an elbow injury in 2011, Mejia got to appear in five games, including three starts for New York this season.

Mejia has given mixed results, showing flashes of brilliance, but his command is non-existent. Terry Collins believes the foundation is there for a bright future.

"He was impressive enough to know that he possibly could be a starter," Collins told Marc Carig of Newsday.

Mejia has pitched 16 innings in 2012 but he has allowed 29 runners to reach base, and that is alarming.

The scouting reports on Familia and Mejia basically read the same. Both have tremendous fastballs but both struggle with their command and control. Both have been worked as starters, but both look bound for the bullpen, not only for the short term, but the long term as well.

Some pitchers can work on command their entire career and never fully harness it. Both Familia and Mejia looked destined for that route. 

They have fastballs that can blow batters out of the box, and that kind of weapon would be perfect coming out of the pen.

The Mets have a plethora of starting pitchers as it is now. Matt Harvey has already proven that he belongs and Zach Wheeler is said to be even better. Jonathan Niese has signed a long-term deal and Dillon Gee hopefully can come back and the effective pitcher he was before going down after the All-Star break.

That does not even include Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey.

The Mets need help in the bullpen now. Familia and Mejia can provide that help and should just stay there.

Yes, both are young and can still improve, but both are just not polished enough to be effective starting pitchers. It is hard to see that ever happening either.

The Mets have time to experiment a little while longer, but they need to make a solid decision eventually and then stick with it.

New York has already tinkered with Mejia so much, it's surprising to see he is still mentally stable. Familia has been a starter his whole life, but if a move to the bullpen is his opportunity to pitch in 2013, he is going to make the most of it.

"I said whatever spot they put me, I'll do my job. I have to do the job. I'm a starter my whole life. But if it has to be in the bullpen, I'll be fine with that." (via

The immediate future says bullpen and that may be the case long-term as well. Their impact there could be the right recipe for a New York Mets makeover.

Only time will tell, but let us hope the Mets just get it right.