Relief pitcher Enmanuel Mejia is an overlooked prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system. What could 2022 hold for the right-handed reliever?
Everyone knows that the Pittsburgh Pirates have one of the deepest, most talented farm systems in all of baseball. This highly-touted farm system includes a plethora of starting pitching prospects who have big futures ahead of them.
However, even in the most talented of farm systems, it is not uncommon for relief pitching prospects to go overlooked. A big factor in this is that often times relievers at the Major League level are pitchers who failed as starters. That said, there are still pitchers who convert to a bullpen role in the low minors and ride it to a MLB spot.
Noah recently took a look at arguably the three best relief pitching prospects that the Pittsburgh Pirates have in their farm system. One reliever who did not make Noah’s list but should not be overlooked is righty Enmanuel Mejia.
The 23-year-old Mejia split the 2021 season between Low-A Bradenton and High-A Greensboro. Across 32 outings at the two levels Mejia pitched 42.2 innings. He allowed just 2 home runs, hit a pair of batters, and struck out 53 while walking 14.9% of batters faced.
Outside of his high walk rate, Mejia had a tremendous season. Despite this high walk rate he did a great job limiting runs. In his 42.2 innings pitched across the Low-A and High-A levels, Mejia posted a 0.42 ERA. He allowed just 2 earned runs, both of which came while pitching for the High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers.
Mejia is currently pitching for the Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League. Down in the Dominican, Mejia has allowed 4 runs on 12 hits in 8.2 innings pitched. He has allowed just a single home run, while walking 3 batters and striking out 6.
While Mejia did not pitch in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the minor league season, he also had a strong season in 2019. Mejia pitched to the tune of a 1.74 ERA, 1.07 FIP, 8.8% walk rate, and a 46.3% strikeout rate in 20.2 innings pitched across 18 games at rookie-ball.
Had the pandemic not cost Mejia is 2020 season it is a real possibility he would be valued more highly in the Pirate farm system. This likely would have led to him having another strong season in 2022, which could have him already at the Double-A level.
With Mejia being 23-years-old and logging time in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, it would not be a surprise to see him start the 2022 season at Double-A Altoona. If this happens then Mejia should be in position to reach the Triple-A level before the end of the 2022 season. This could put Mejia in position to make a potential MLB debut in 2024.