Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 101 of 286. Stay tuned.
Mejia didn’t jump right in. In 2014, he didn’t appear for the Miami Marlins at any level. Starting in 2015, he joined the rookie-level DSL Marlins, in the Dominican Summer League.
The DSL is an organization which employs undrafted international free agents throughout its ranks. Generally, the players involved are the youngest professional ballplayers in the world, aged as young as 16-years-old in some cases. When Mejia made his debut, at age 18, he was actually in the middle of the group. There were 18 players younger than him and and 18 who were older.
Mejia started 13 times, leading the team. He pitched a club-high 74 2/3 innings, going 3-3 with a team-second-best 1.69 ERA. He struck out 71 and walked only 14, leading the team with a 0.97 WHIP. In his final appearance of the season, on August 18th, he struck out 11 over seven shutout one-hit innings as the Marlins topped the DSL Cubs, 8-4. That version of the Marlins posted a 24-48 record, and finished 10th in the 10-team DSL San Pedro de Macoris.
In 2016, Mejia was assigned to the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League. He would split the season between them and the domestic rookie-level GCL Marlins, in the Florida-based Gulf Coast League. In 13 games, including two starts at each level, Mejia posted a 4-5 record and a 2.90 ERA with 49 K’s in 49 2/3 innings. He walked only 10, resulting in a much-better-than-league-average WHIP of 1.17. In back-to-back relief appearances for GCL on July 21st and July 27th, Mejia went 11 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts and only four hits allowed. He earned the winning decision on the 27th, in an 11-0 whitewashing of the GCL Astros. Mejia opened and closed the 2016 season with the 22-53 Muckdogs, but spent most of the year with the 24-31 GCL Marlins, ranking third on that club with 40 1/3 innings pitched.
Mejia was listed as the number 26 Miami Marlins prospect in 2017, but he lost out to injury and missed the entire season.
Mejia spent the entire 2018 campaign with the Muckdogs, going 1-6 with a 3.30 ERA in 12 starts and two trips out of the pen. On August 12th, he whiffed nine in five innings, holding the Williamsport Crosscutters to one run on two hits and zero walks for a 2-1 Muckdogs victory. 11 days later, in a 3-2 loss to Williamsport, Mejia earned no decision after starting and striking out four over four perfect innings.
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Batavia was mostly competitive, coming in at 36-40. Mejia’s 62 2/3 innings was the second highest total on the team. He walked 14 and struck out 59, holding opponents to a club-second 1.101 WHIP. Opposing batsmen managed a .232/.277/.401 slashline against him.
The Miami Marlins expect Mejia to pitch well this season for the single-A Clinton LumberKings in the Midwest League. The way the organization has been promoting personnel suggests that with a decent first half-season, he could wind up in the high-A Florida State League with the Jupiter Hammerheads before the end of the year. Best case for Mejia, the earliest we would expect to see him with the parent club is 2021 Spring Training.
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