Saturday, September 20, 2014

Jenrry Mejia Sets An Unusual Major League Mark

Jenrry Mejia started the season as the Mets' fifth starter but eventually became the team's closer when Bobby Parnell, Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth all succumbed to injuries or ineffectiveness.  Since then, Mejia has pitched through sports hernias, bases-loaded situations (of his own doing) and backbreaking celebrations to record 26 saves.

After a quarter century of importing closers from other teams, Mejia has followed in Parnell's footsteps to become a rarity in recent Mets history - the homegrown closer.  In fact, Mejia's 26 saves are the most by a Mets pitcher who came up through the team's minor league system since Randy Myers recorded the same number of saves in 1988.  Mejia is now just one save away from Tug McGraw's franchise record of 27 saves by a homegrown player, a mark McGraw established in 1972.

Note:  Jesse Orosco made his major league debut in 1979 with the Mets and saved 31 games in 1984, but he is not a homegrown Met, as he was drafted by Minnesota in 1978 and pitched in the Twins' minor league system for one season before he was traded to New York for Jerry Koosman in February 1979.

Mejia might be closing in on a Mets record, but he has already set an obscure major league mark.  His 26 saves are the most by any pitcher who made at least seven starts in the same season.  In fact, Mejia is one of just three pitchers to record as many as 20 saves in a year he started seven times.

Player SV GS Year Tm G W L IP H R ER BB SO ERA
Jenrry Mejia 26 7 2014 NYM 59 5 6 89.2 96 41 38 40 94 3.81
Joe Grahe 21 7 1992 CAL 46 5 6 94.2 85 37 37 39 39 3.52
Jose Jimenez 20 7 2003 COL 63 2 10 101.2 137 62 59 32 45 5.22
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/20/2014.

A little extra research found that only six pitchers other than Mejia have recorded as many as 25 saves when they made as little as one start during the same season.  Those half-dozen pitchers are:

  • Ryan Dempster (2005 Cubs):  33 saves, 6 starts.
  • Danny Graves (2002 Reds):  32 saves, 4 starts.
  • Mike Marshall (1979 Twins): 32 saves, 1 start.
  • Dave Giusti (1970 Pirates): 26 saves, 1 start.
  • Lindy McDaniel (1960 Cards): 26 saves, 2 starts.
  • Tug McGraw (1973 Mets): 25 saves, 2 starts.

With a little over a week to go until the 2014 season comes to a close, Jenrry Mejia has joined or is about to join former Mets closer Tug McGraw in two respects.  Mejia is one save away from tying McGraw's club mark for saves by a homegrown pitcher.  Mejia and McGraw are also two of just seven pitchers who recorded 25 saves and made at least one start in the same season.

But even McGraw can't say that he made a month's worth of starts and still managed to save as many games as Mejia has in 2014.  In fact, no major league pitcher can make that claim.  Mejia stands all alone in that respect.  It may be an obscure mark, but it's as good a reason as any for a closer to celebrate.

Funky Cold Mejia is all Kool and the Gang with his celebration.  (Photo by Brad Penner/USA Today)


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