PHILADELPHIA -- Barely a year removed from his status as the organization's top overall prospect, Jenrry Mejia appeared in an official game Wednesday for the first time in 12 months.
Mejia, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last May, gave up two runs in five innings for Class A St. Lucie, striking out one and walking two, while throwing his fastball in the low- to mid-90s. He is scheduled to make three more unofficial Minor League rehab starts, at which point the Mets will reevaluate Mejia's situation.
That should include a discussion of whether he best fits into their plans as a starting pitcher or reliever.
Though Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and others have since shot past him in terms of star potential, Mejia was not so long ago the organization's unquestioned top overall prospect. He first cracked the Majors as a 20-year-old reliever in 2010, experiencing some initial success before the Mets sent him back down to the Minors to stretch out as a starter. But a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow derailed Mejia early last season.
If nothing else, he is far more likely to contribute than Harvey, Wheeler and Jeurys Familia this season, given that the Mets are committed to seeing consistent dominance from those three in the Minor Leagues before calling them up. Though Harvey and Familia could both crack the big leagues by year's end, Mejia should appear sooner -- by midsummer if all goes according to plan.