Every so many years, a player comes along for a franchise, that is hyped up so much that they inevitably will let them down. For every young phenom and natural hitter that develops into anything resembling an everyday player, there are thousands of others who burn out long before they're due. Every franchise has them. The New York Mets usually trade them away or bring them up too early and shatter their confidence. The latest prospect on this always growing list is Jenrry Mejia.
Mejia is the latest in a long line to wow the owners and baseball people alike. It seems like every season, these players show up, get too much attention, and fizzle under the spotlight. Does the name Alex Escobar come to mind? Perhaps, Scott Kazmir? Does anyone remember the Mets big three that was supposed to answer the 90's Atlanta Braves? Pulsipher, Wilson and Izzy? What happened to them? They were rushed into stardem and struggled with arm issues, injury issues or confidence issues. I can think of countless names that were traded away before they hit their stride and countless more who never hit that stride.
Almost every spring training, there is a comparison to a well known pitcher or player. Kazmir was the next Roger Clemens, Escobar was the next A-Rod. Fernando Martinez is supposed to be the next 5 tool stud. Now, Mejia is the next Dwight Gooden. I would be interested to see what Dr. K thinks about that. He's down there, maybe someone will ask him. Probably not. Okay, okay. Maybe the kid has a 95 plus mph fastball, but that doesn't make him the second coming. Does it? Is this fansbse so starved for a homegrown ace that we are ready to draw comparisons based on a spring training, team workout, batting practice? Really? Seriously? This franchise has had many good pitchers, and players for that matter, and many more traded away, half of them to National League rivals like San Diego, Washington and Florida. Even more traded to the American League, which might be better.
Players such as Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez, Justin Huber and all of those previously mentioned are just the tip of the busted farm system iceberg. Many supposed experts claim that the Mets farm system is weak at best, but the scouting over the years has been outstanding. It still is. We live in a success happy world and we root for a team who plays in the capital city of that world. If our teams don't win, they must trade away future talent for present success. The other scenario that plays out is, the home grown talent gets rushed up because of the rush for success, and therefore never truly adjusts and never truly succeeds. If other ball clubs had done this to their talented players, we might have a Joe Mauer or an Albert Pujols, but we wouldn't have a Ryan Braun or a Jason Bay.
These players need time to develop, not instant fame and success. They need patience and baseball nuturing. I hope, as a Mets fan, Mejia pans out. I hope he is every inch as good as the baseball people say that he is and that he performs like it, for many years to come, in Queens. I only ask of the fans and the franchise to be patient with him. If the team is out of the hunt by July again, don't start with the Ike Davis, Josh Thole and Mejia talk. They have the rest of their lives to celebrate their accomplishments, if they take the next few years to hone their skills. If they do, the Mets fans will have another few years to celebrate glory until the next Jenrry Mejia comes along by 2020.