A first-hand opinion of Jenrry Mejia

Though Mets manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen have heard the reports on Jenrry Mejia and, in preparation for his Saturday start, have watched him throw a bullpen, they have not seen Mejia throw in person since his demotion to Class A St. Lucie back in June.

mejia.jpgMike Nickeas has.

The catcher, called up to the Mets Thursday morning, caught Mejia at both Triple-A Buffalo and Double-A Binghamton this season, after also catching the 20-year-old prospect in Spring Training. Many within the Mets organization, including general manager Omar Minaya, have called Mejia’s improved curveball the primary factor behind his recent success. And Nickeas agrees.

“He’s getting that over first pitch a lot,” Nickeas said. “I think that’s really effective. I think it’s difficult to swing at first pitch for a lot of guys, especially when he’s throwing 96, kind of cutting. It’s very effective.”

Also effective is Mejia’s changeup, especially when used in tandem with his upper-90s fastball. That combination, the Mets feel, should be enough for Mejia to hold his own while he grows acclimated to starting in the Major Leagues.

“Compared to last year, he’s come a long, long way,” Nickeas said. “I think his off-speed stuff for strikes has been tremendous this year, and his last four or five outings have been phenomenal. His fastball is where it has been, only it’s more consistent to both sides of the plate. He’s done a terrific job.”

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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