Baseball news! Yes folks, come outside, the Royals have finally done something. This cold Thursday night saw the Royals make a splash, flipping relievers Joakim Soria and Scott Alexander in a three-team trade and coming out with two prospects. Let me do a rundown on one of those acquired players.
Shortly after news came out that the Royals had netted RHP Trevor Oaks in the trade, it was reported that the Royals were receiving a Minor League infielder by the name of Erick Mejia.
Let’s start with what has happened thus far in Mejia’s career. Signed in 2011 as an IFA from the Dominican Republic by the Seattle Mariners. After a few up and down seasons in the lower levels of the minors, Mejia was flipped in a minor trade that sent him to the Dodgers for Joe Wieland. He found himself playing at three levels across the Dodgers system this past season (A+, AA, AAA), possibly putting together the most complete season of his career, slashing .278/.344/.397 along with swiping 28 bags.
There isn’t a lot to rave about Mejia at the plate, but he has shown throughout his career that he can make contact at a solid rate, while at the same time owning decent OBP skills. The home run power isn’t really there (hits too many ground balls, below-average strength at 155 lbs), but he has shown the ability to rack up extra-base hits via the gap with his plus-speed and baserunning.
Another intriguing part of his profile is this switch-hitting. He shows good reaction time on both sides of the plate, staying short to the ball often.
I think Mejia has the ability to play both second base and shortstop adequately. It still sounds like there is work to be done though, with his footwork still being a considerable problem, correlating to errors. He still flashed a bunch of improvement this year, lowering his error total 41 to 24. Also worth mentioning that he played in 41 games at third this year. I think he has the skills of an above-average defender though.
Like Trevor Oaks, I think the Royals got themselves another high-floor player. I feel like Mejia is a good bet to at least end up as a useful bench piece in a utility type infielder role. I still wouldn’t rule out an outcome of a regular major league player here, especially at SS, where his bat would likely fit best. I could see a future .280 hitter with limited power here.
Photo Credits: Jayne Kamin-Oncea—USA Today Sports