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Indians catching prospect Francisco Mejia had a solid 2014 season

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What's this? Another switch-hitting catching prospect?

Francisco Mejia

  • Position: Catcher
  • Age: 18
  • Acquired: non-drafted free agent, 2012

Yes, another switch-hitting catching prospect. It wasn't that long ago (or was it?) that Victor Martinez came up through the system, and Carlos Santana spent a couple years in the organization before making his mark in the big leagues. It's way too early in Mejia's development to start comparing him to either of those two, but he definitely has the potential to be an everyday major-league catcher.

Mejia was the Indians' big International free agent signing a couple years back, earning himself $350,000. The Indians thought enough of him  not only to fork over a large bonus, but to take him straight to the US as a 17-year-old, skipping him over the Dominican Summer League. Mejia responded by hitting a fine .305/.348/.524 in Arizona in 2013, and making the jump to Mahoning Valley as an 18-year-old this season.

The New York-Penn League is a college league, with most players being 21-year-olds just out of college. Because the Indians do not have short-season Rookie team, the jump from Arizona to Mahoning Valley is two really level jumps in one. But Mejia more than held his own as the everyday catcher, not only having to face polished college arms but to manage a staff of them as well.

But Mejia had the talent to face this challenge. Behind the plate he possesses one of the best arms in the minors, and he shows an approach at the plate that belies his youth. Facing pitchers 3-4 years older in 2014, he hit .282/.339/.407, earning in the process a spot on Baseball America's Top 20 NYPL prospects. He's going to have to work on other facets of his defense and make small adjustments to his swing as he progresses up the organization ladder, but those are minor quibbles.

2014 Grade: B

(hat tip: The DiaTribe's Al Ciammaichella)

2015 Outlook

Towards the end of this season, it seemed that he'd be natural fit in Lake County with Eric Haase moving up to Carolina, but he remained with the Scrappers for reasons unknown. He'll make the jump to Lake County next April though. The Indians as an organization is very deep at the catching position, but with Mejia the Indians might have a top-flight prospect regardless of position, and by the end of next year could start to show up on some overall Top 100 lists.

Mejia EOS 2014