Terry Francona all but confirmed something that’s been lingering for a while now: Francisco Mejia doesn’t want to be an outfielder.
Here’s Indians manager Terry Francona on Saturday, discussing top prospect Francisco Mejia’s ongoing transition to the outfield... pic.twitter.com/U65P70suhr— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 7, 2018
“Man, you may be a catcher next year, but you could be a starting right fielder,” is one hell of a live, given the Indians’ currently outfield situation and how desperately they need someone to take over the position. Given that, the writing the seems on the wall for Mejia’s desire to switch positions.
The Indians had previously tried getting his bat in the major league lineup by shifting him to third base, another proposition he wasn’t fond of. Francona said at the time that Mejia wasn’t “excited” to play third base:
I don’t know how excited he was to play third base. If you want to be a full-time catcher, we’ll back you 100 percent, but when he laid it out for him there, he was like ‘No, I need to do this.’
Mejia, 22, had a slow start to 2018 but a scorching June brought his season slash to .279/.327/.435 with seven home runs. That kind of line, or even anything close to the ridiculous .455/.476/.717 June he had, would look mighty nice behind the dish for the Tribe. Or at third base. Or in the outfield. Or literally anywhere they can actually convince him to play.
We still don’t know the details, but where there is smoke there is usually fire, and right now the smoke signals are showing a top prospect that has no interesting in playing anything but catcher in the majors, even as he works as an outfielder in Triple-A.
Someone, somewhere is going to find a way to get Mejia’s bat to the majors. Whether or not it’s as the Indians’ starting catcher remains to be seen.