Francisco Mejia Continuing to Make an Impact with Captains
Laurel Wilder | On 28, Apr 2016
It’s still early in the season, but the Lake County Captains have been off to a hot start and currently lead the Midwest League with a 13-7 record. No guarantees can be made, of course, as to what this will bring as the season continues, but it certainly can’t be ignored. The team is fifth in the Midwest League in hitting with a team .263 batting average, and their pitchers are second in the league with 180 strikeouts thus far.
While this early success can’t be pinned to one player, one player is emerging as a player to watch who can make a big impact this season.
In his second year with the Lake County Captains, catcher and designated hitter Francisco Mejia is one of the most valuable assets to the young squad. Now 20 years old, Mejia was signed by the Indians as a non-drafted free agent in July 2012. He has spent time with the Arizona League Indians and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers throughout his time with the Indians, with last season being his first full season of professional baseball in Lake County. The catcher made himself known last season, hitting nine home runs in 109 games and ending the season with a .243 average.
This season, he is picking up where he left off, both at and behind the plate. Mejia is currently leading the Captains with a .361 average and a .904 OPS. He has 22 hits in 61 at-bats, has struck out nine times and walked six. He also has 15 RBI this season, and has demonstrated an ability to deliver in critical situations – he is currently hitting .833 with runners at first and third and .393 with runners in scoring position.
Although he’s made two errors this season, Mejia is still keeping up with his strength behind the plate. The Captains pitching staff could not be having the same successes as they currently have without the help of a strong catching staff. One of the reasons that the Captains pitchers last season were able to have so much success, as well, can be credited to Mejia’s strong game-calling behind the plate.
The Captains have won 10 of the 14 games in which Mejia has appeared this season. While these wins have been propelled by the team as a whole, Mejia’s presence certainly helps the team when he plays.
MLB.com currently ranks Mejia as the Indians’ 11th overall prospect and cites the youngster’s ability to rise to the occasion and hold his own against older players as a major positive. According to MLB.com, Mejia’s bat speed still needs to be developed, as he is currently relying on his raw power, and he needs to physically mature as his time goes on with the organization. Mejia is listed at 5’10” and 175 pounds.
Baseball America ranks Mejia 10th on their Indians top prospect list. Mejia is the highest-ranked catching prospect in the Indians organization, according to both MLB.com and Baseball America, which makes him a key to the future of the organization. In fact, Mejia is the only ranked catching prospect in MLB.com’s list of the Indians’ 30 top prospects. Eric Haase, Jeremy Lucas and Alex Lavisky are probably the three biggest catching names ahead of Mejia, though none of the three have the same prospect rankings behind them as Mejia does. Mejia is the only true catching prospect making his way through the Indians system, and his young age gives him a few years to develop his playing ability, his English-speaking skills, and his physicality prior to any big league appearance.
It will be interesting to watch how Mejia continues to evolve throughout the rest of the season. If his early season successes are continued, a promotion to the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats may not be too far off. For the meantime, however, Mejia will hopefully continue to be an impactful player with the Captains for the second straight season.
Photo: Tim Phillis/TCP Photographer