Fall League Notes: Mejia struggles with command

Adalberto Mejia throws warm-ups pitches before his first Fall League start. (Conner Penfold / Giant Potential)

Adalberto Mejia’s first Arizona Fall League start disappoints

After struggling to get hitters out in the bullpen, Scottsdale Scorpions manager Russ Morman gave San Francisco Giants prospect Adalberto Mejia a shot as the starting pitcher — where the left-hander excelled in the 2013 regular season with Class A San Jose.

Things remained the same, and for now, at least, they may have gotten worse.

Mejia entered Monday’s ballgame having walked three hitters in eight innings pitched with Scottsdale, with the majority of the damage coming from the eight hits — including two home runs — he’d allowed in his first four outings. He was knocked out of the game with one out in the third inning after allowing his third walk of the game.

The day began on a good note for Mejia, as he poured in consecutive strikes to Houston Astros prospect Delino DeShields before eventually surrendering a walk on eight pitches. (Granted, he did get a bit squeezed in the DeShields at-bat). Seattle Mariners prospect Chris Taylor followed with the first of his two doubles off Mejia on the first pitch, driving in a speedy DeShields from first.

Mejia finished the afternoon allowing three earned runs on three hits, three walks while striking out two in 2.1 innings.

The 20-year old native of Bonao, Dominican Republic raised his Fall League ERA to 10.45, but there is room for optimism.

Based on what we’ve seen from him in 2013′s regular season, Mejia has the stuff to compete at higher levels. When right, his back-foot slider left right-handed hitters looking defenseless at the plate. He allowed 98 baserunners (75 hits, 23 walks) in 87 innings with San Jose this year while striking out just over one batter per inning. His 3.31 ERA was fourth best amidst a phenomenal starting rotation, behind Ty Blach, Edwin Escobar. and No.1 prospect Kyle Crick.

And after a closer look at the video, Mejia threw first-pitch strikes to 10 of the 12 hitters he faced. It was later in the at-bat where he ran into trouble.

No word on whether Mejia will get more shots as a starter over the next two weeks before the Fall League concludes, but optimistically speaking, Mejia should return to normal form when he likely begins the 2014 season with Class AA Richmond in April.

Mejia is only 20-years old. He was born in 1993, for goodness sake. Bright times ahead.

Susac, Villalona combine to go 0-for-7 at plate

San Francisco’s top pitching prospect Andrew Susac entered Monday leading the Fall League in batting average, but an 0-for-4 day dropped his number to .379. Batting in the cleanup spot, Susac continued to make contact with the ball and refrained from striking out but failed to draw a walk in a game for just the third time this year.

Angel Villalona started at first base and batted in the seventh spot, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Some plusses for the big right-handed hitter were that he saw 20 pitches over those three at-bats and played a great first base, including an impressive snag on a hard-hit ball down the line, which led to Villalona doubling up the runner on first to end the inning.

Other Notes

  • I ran into newly-named Houston Astros pitching coach Brett Strom, a former major-league pitcher himself, who was there scouting Astros pitchers playing for Peoria. He offered his thoughts on the Tim Lincecum deal. To paraphrase Strom, he said that Lincecum is “regressing” and that he “used to be a fastball guy but is now only a changeup guy.” He didn’t come right out and say it, but it sure seemed like he didn’t agree with San Francisco’s decision to re-sign.
  • Delino DeShields, son of the former major-leaguer by the same name, was quite productive for Peoria. He went 0-for-1 with three walks and scored two of the team’s four runs. Aside from that, he showed impressive speed both in center field and on the bases, scoring from first base twice on two doubles without throws.
  • Scottsdale Stadium is unique in that dead center field is 430 feet from home plate. Even with the wind blowing straight out to center, no one came close to clearing the fence, although Kansas City Royals prospect Orlando Calixte made it look easy in batting practice.