Get to Know Giants’ Prospect Adalberto Mejia


Quality left-handed pitchers, especially starters, are a hot commodity around Major League Baseball. The San Francisco Giants already have a great one in Madison Bumgarner. There may be another excellent southpaw waiting in the wings within the system.

At just 21 years old, Adalberto Mejia has quickly risen through the organizational ranks. The tall, burly, Dominican Republic-native made his professional debut in 2011 as a fresh-faced 18 year-old in the Dominican Summer League. His career got off to a roaring start that year. In his 13 starts, he went 5-2 with a sparkling 1.42 ERA and .868 WHIP. He combined that with 72 strikeouts and only eight walks in 76 innings.

The next year, Mejia made a pretty big jump to the Class A Augusta Green Jackets. While there, he split his time between the rotation and the bullpen, as 14 of his 30 appearances were as a starter. He regressed slightly but still put up pretty good numbers, especially while starting the season as an 18 year-old. He finished with a 10-7 record with a 3.97 ERA and 1.341 WHIP, while walking just 21 batters in 106.2 innings.

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In 2013, Mejia would continue his climb as he moved up to the Class A-Advanced San Jose Giants, where he would be the youngest regular starting pitcher in the California League at just 19-years old when the season began. He worked exclusively as a starter with San Jose, making 16 starts, going 7-4 with a 3.31 ERA, 1.126 WHIP and 89 strikeouts in 87 innings.

Mejia would also make one start for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies in 2013. In a game where the 20 year-old should have been in over his head, he held his own and pitched fairly well. In five innings, Mejia gave up five hits, struck out two and walked two. The only two runs he surrendered came from solo home runs.

2014 proved to be Mejia’s most difficult season, even after Baseball American ranked him as the Giants’ #4 prospect. With the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels, the numbers weren’t great, as he went 7-9 with a 4.67 ERA and 1.389 WHIP in 108 innings.

But taking a closer look shows that the year was a tale of two halves for Mejia. In April, May and June, Mejia’s ERA and WHIP were 5.50 and 1.677, respectively.He would turn things around and redeem himself in July and August, as his ERA and WHIP dropped to 3.00 and 1.278, respectively.

Mejia is a great command pitcher. For his career, he walks only two batters per nine innings and strikes out 3.8 for every walk. He throws all his pitches consistently to both sides of the lower half of the plates. But the downside to that, in throwing so many strikes, Mejia has been known to give up some hits. But he can also get double-plays to work around that.

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Mejia’s great command can partly be attributed to great mechanics. His delivery is fluid and easily repeatable, which is excellent for a young pitcher. For a big guy, he keeps himself very compact throughout his motion, as his hands are always close to his body leading up to the pitch. He doesn’t go maximum effort on his delivery but still pops the catcher’s mitt with consistency.

The fastball is Mejia’s best pitch. It normally sits in the low 90’s, but 94 and 95 mph has become more common as he has continued to mature. It also features good late-tailing movement, which keeps the ball away from the barrel of the bat.

He features two secondary pitches, a sinking changeup and a low 80’s, hard-biting slider. Both are plus pitches and will continue to improve as his career progresses.

It seems likely that Mejia will start 2015 back in Richmond, although a strong showing in Spring Training could vault him to a more permanent spot in Fresno. Come September, he might be in line for a call-up when rosters expand to show if he’s ready for the bright lights.

And maybe when 2016 rolls around, Mejia could join fellow lefty Bumgarner in the Giants’ rotation.