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Now that the streak is over, what lies ahead for Francisco Mejia?

The fifty game hitting streak turned Mejia into one of the hottest prospects in baseball. Now, how do you grow a player like Mejia? How do you catch a streak and pin it down?

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Francisco Mejia's hitting streak ended at fifty games, but his story is just beginning.

To start with, we can take a look at the numbers wrapped up in this streak:

  • 50 consecutive games with a hit.
  • Two different All-Star games during that stretch, with a hit in each.
  • A .348/.380/.523 batting line in the minor leagues this season. During the streak, he hit .386/.414/.599.
There are more, but I'd like to get to some of the more interesting facts about Mejia:
  • Francisco is 20 years old, born on October 27, 1995, one day before the Indians lost game 6 and the 1995 World Series to the Atlanta Braves.
  • He hails from Bani, Peravia in the Dominican Republic. Other players from Bani? Miguel Tejada, Jose Bautista, and Juan Uribe
  • The Indians nearly dealt him (and others) to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Jonathan Lucroy.
So, how do you grow a player like Mejia? Now that he remains in the Indians system, how do you take what he learned from his hitting streak, pin it down, and make it a foundation from which to grown upon? It's difficult to say. For one, a hitting streak of this caliber hasn't occurred in any level of professional baseball since 1954. It's important to note that Mejia is only 20 years old, and might be more than two years away from an everyday job with the Indians—if he ever makes it. I don't doubt Mejia's talent or his ability to reach the majors, but injuries, strange slumps, and unpatchable holes in a player's game have all been known to stall a career before it can mature.

What do I want for Mejia? For him to be muttered in the same breath that old-timers mention Johnny Bench and medium-timers speak of Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Piazza. I'm not saying this because I'm an Indians fan, but because I'm a baseball fan. A catcher with a deadly bat is rare; rarer still is the catcher that holds his own defensively late into his career while remaining a threat at the plate.

What can we expect from Mejia? Let me answer by explaining what I heard during the radio broadcast on Saturday, when Mejia batted one last time, thinking that he still needed to slap at least a single to keep the streak alive (the official scorer, after the game, changed an E5 to a double, extending the streak to 50). The pitcher spiked three curveballs in the dirt. The last bounced and hit Mejia, but he stayed in the box. The enforcement of rules is a bit more fluid at the lower levels of professional baseball. In this case, the greatest hitting streak in decades hung in the balance. Perhaps the umpire looked the other way and let Mejia see one more pitch, but more importantly, Mejia felt determined to see one more pitchA ball. Mejia stood in the batter's box for a moment. Then, he dropped his bat and trudged to first, head hung down.

I think we can expect the same determination from Mejia at every level of professional baseball. He's now had a taste of greatness, as at age 20 he owns the fifth longest hitting streak in baseball history. Look at the desire Mejia had to keep it going; to keep his legendary streak rolling. Once you've reached that level, you never want to be anywhere else.

I expect Mejia to rank as one of the Indians' top prospects this offseason. I also won't be surprised if the Indians entertain several offers from other teams for him during winter meetings, only to turn most of them down. Catcher is one of the most difficult positions to fill effectively, and perhaps this season served as a reminder of that for Indians fans. We believed we had it covered with an elite starter and an excellent backup; instead, the value they've generated at catcher is dead last in all of baseball.

What does Mejia want? Like any minor leaguer, I'm sure that he'd love to make it to the show, and stay there for as long as possible. While he's at it, why not earn a bust in Cooperstown? I wonder, though, what his feelings might be for the organization that tried to flip him for a player before the trade deadline. At age 20, how well does he understand the business side of things? Will he hold it against the Indians moving forward?

We can only wait. While we do, we ought to cherish Mejia's streak, and enjoy the development of a player who has turned himself into one of the top catching prospects in all of baseball.

Again: Mejia's hitting streak ended at fifty games, but his story is just beginning.