Right-handed pitcher Jean Carlos Mejía is getting the call to the majors, as first reported by @IndiansProspective Tuesday morning and confirmed by the team in the evening. The 24-year-old will reportedly be available out of the bullpen as Cleveland continues their series against the Angels.
Monday’s starter in Los Angeles, Sam Hentges, lasted just 1.2 innings after giving up six runs, including a Shohei Ohtani bomb. Five relievers covered the remaining 6.2 innings: Trevor Stephan, Nick Sandlin, Cal Quantrill, and Nick Wittgren.
Prior to 2018, Mejía had never started a game in the minors, but he started 15 of the 17 games he pitched in Single-A that season and has started every game since. In his two starts with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers this year, he has 10 strikeouts, five walks, and he has allowed two earned runs off of six hits.
Mejía was once considered a top prospect in the Cleveland organization, ranking as high as No. 19 in FanGraphs’ list heading into 2019 and voted as the No. 15 prospect by Covering the Corner readers in the same year. Injuries cut his 2019 season down to just eight games, however, and without a season in front of outside eyes in 2020, he fell off a lot of radars.
FanGraphs gave him a 40 FV in their 2019 assessment, praising his extension and competitiveness at the plate, despite a fastball that sat in the low-90s. He was projected to be a fourth or fifth starter in a major-league rotation.
While he may be coming out of the bullpen initially, it’s worth noting that Cleveland has kept Mejía in line with the fifth rotation spot from the start of the Triple-A season. Given Sam Hentges’ struggles in the rotation, we may see Mejía get a shot as a starter sooner rather than later. He was scheduled to start today prior to the news of his promotion.
Mejía’s promotion will require someone on the 26-man roster to be optioned to the minors, and in this case, it is shortstop Andrés Giménez. The 22-year-old made the jump straight from Double-A in 2019 to the majors with the Mets last year and stayed there with Cleveland in 2021 after a great spring training. He has struggled with his new team, however, slashing just .179/.226/.308 with two home runs and looking lost at the plate for long stretches of time.
Giménez has started just three games in the last week and only has 25 plate appearances in the month of May. His playing time at shortstop has been ceded to Amed Rosario, who has not looked much better but is riding a two-game hit streak and has a couple multi-hit games under his belt, for whatever it’s worth.