When Baseball Prospectus’s annual top prospect lists came out this offseason, the site’s prospect guru, Jason Parks, tabbed a relative unknown for the Cleveland Indians’s number five prospect: catcher Francisco Mejia.
BPro requires a subscription for most of its content (and it’s well-worth the cost if any readers happen to be on the fence), but Parks explained that the 18-year-old Mejia boasted the “highest ceiling on the farm” outside of top prospect SS Fransisco Lindor and 2013 first-round pick Clint Frazier (Park’s list was written well before this month’s draft, it’s unclear where Mejia would rank today).
Parks speculated Mejia would go to extended spring training before heading out to the New York-Penn League.
“This kid has monster potential, with the type of bat speed you can’t teach and a rocket arm from a premium defensive position. … Even though [Mejia] comes with a tremendous risk, the payoff could be enormous,” Parks wrote.
Mejia is headed to the Indians’s New York-Penn League affiliate, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, and another prospect writer for BPro, Chris Mellen, is excited to get a look at Mejia but doesn’t expect big numbers:
This is a challenging assignment for Mejia. Teams typically sign a lot of their newly drafted college arms, and the catcher can expect to get a steady dose of opponents 3-4 years older than him, with a lot more experience. I don’t expect anything eye-popping in terms of a stat line from Mejia. In fact, I bet he’s uneven when it comes to performance. That’s why it’ll be important to zone in on the scouting, and I’m looking forward to peeling back the layers on the player and diving into the clues.
Mejia remains a bit of a mystery man due to his youth (he won’t turn 19 until the end of October) and his intriguing raw tools but lack of experience outside a stint in the Arizona League. Parks appears to be one of the few prospect gurus to have Mejia on the radar, and it will be interesting to see what the scouts think of him.
Mejia will be another reason to keep an eye on the Scrappers this season; the Indians’s top pick this year, OF Bradley Zimmer, will make his debut with Mahoning Valley as well.