I've got a bit of a reputation as a journalistic Merchant of Death.
The two college basketball programs I covered St. Bonaventure and Binghamton University both had NCAA scandals while I covered them. The Binghamton Mets had the Tony Bernazard-Shirt-Fighting controversy during my tenure. I attended Syracuse University. I merely interviewed at Ph.D. programs at Penn State and North Carolina, and they had sports scandals. I interviewed Jon Jones early in his MMA career.
And one of the last prospects to come through Binghamton during my time covering the Double-A Mets? A hard-throwing 19-year-old right-hander.
None of my clips from his tenure with the B-Mets (10 starts, 0-5, 4.47 ERA, 1.511 WHIP) survive. But Google did find an interview I did with Mets Merized Online back then, where they asked about Mejia:
JD - One of the most talked about pitching prospects lately has been Jenrry Mejia. A few days ago I read in one of your blog posts that he hit 102 MPH on the radar gun and I think you sparked a whirlwind of excitement in the Mets blogosphere. I would love for you to share your thoughts on Mejia. Is the hype justified? What type of a starter does he project as? What is his ETA?
BM – First of all, let me say this: The 102 mph is what flashed on the scoreboard at NYSEG Stadium here in Binghamton. I have no way of verifying the accuracy of that.
That being said, Mejia has shown some pretty electric stuff. His fastball is, of course, fantastic – he’s hitting the high 90s with ease. He’s got an excellent change-up, and he’s been working hard on his curveball, which he used as an effective strikeout pitch in his last start.
Is the hype justified? That’s hard to say. Remember, he’s still a 19-year-old kid. He’s still learning how to pitch. No matter how good your stuff is, you’ve still got to learn how to pitch, rather than just throw that speed-ball by guys. He’s got to get stronger mentally, learn how to handle tough situations when they arise. Talent-wise? The sky’s the limit for him. He could be a high-end starter, I think. But he’s got a way to go.
Yes, I made a really bad Born in the USA reference. I thought I was so clever back then.
There was no indication that a 19-year-old Mejia was doing any of the things that have gotten him in trouble. Without suspicion, there was no reason to suspect anything was admiss. He was another hard-throwing kid with a great curveball and a lot of potential.
Potential he wasted.