Impressive Hitting Display Earns Mejia Eastern League’s Player of the Week Honor
Bob Toth | On 13, Jun 2017
Francisco Mejia has proven himself to be quite the player to watch over the last season and a half as he has blossomed into a potent hitter while working his way through the Indians farm system. He put some of that prowess to the test last week, and with an incredible hitting effort in a five-game span, earned himself the praise of the Eastern League as the Akron catcher was named the Player of the Week.
With an off day on Monday and a rainout on Tuesday, Mejia’s week got a late start, but he made up for lost time on Wednesday when the RubberDucks took on the Sea Dogs from Portland. In the lineup for game one of the doubleheader, the 21-year-old switch-hitter had a career game at the plate. After grounding out in the first inning, he singled home a run in the four-run second inning. He notched his fourth homer of the season in the middle of the fourth inning with a two-run shot to put Akron up 8-0. He walked in the fifth, singled again in the sixth, and sent a three-run homer out in the seventh to record his first career multi-homer game. He finished the day 4-for-5 with a walk, two singles, two homers, and a career-high six RBI, exceeding his previous career-best of five established on August 27, 2014, against the Jamestown Jammers while playing for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. He took the second game off, having provided enough offense in one game to account for two.
He was back in the lineup for the series finale from Portland on Thursday and again was a key piece of the offense for Akron. The RubberDucks would fall, 14-8, but Mejia delivered at the plate again. He homered in the first to put Akron on top briefly. After a line out in the third, a strikeout in the sixth, and a groundout in the seventh, he hit a two-run home run in the five-run eighth inning to give Akron its first lead since the first inning at 8-5. A nine-run home half of the eighth by Portland would give the Sea Dogs a victory to avoid the sweep. The two-homer game matched Mejia’s career-high, established just the day before, and gave him seven on the season.
Mejia recording a single and a double in each of the first two games of Akron’s series with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to start the weekend. He struck out twice in the series opener, but in the middle game, he scored a run, knocked one in, and stole a base.
In the finale from Manchester, Mejia recorded his third four-hit game of the season and his second in the last five days. He fell a triple short of the cycle, providing Akron with two singles, a double, and a solo home run as the RubberDucks won, 7-3.
In his five-game week, Mejia was 14-for-23 (.609) at the plate with six singles, three doubles, five homers, and ten RBI. He drew two walks, scored seven times, and posted a .640 on-base percentage. He added a slugging percentage of 1.391 and an OPS of 2.031.
His success is hardly a new thing as Mejia finds himself at the top of the Eastern League’s leaderboard in many offensive categories for the season. He is the league’s top hitter by plenty at .369, a mark that has grown from .325 over the course of his hitting streak. He is also the league’s leader in slugging (.631) and OPS (1.043) and is second in on-base percentage at .412, just one-thousandth of a point behind Altoona’s Wyatt Mathisen.
The Player of the Week award for Mejia is the third in his five-year professional career, added to previous honors in September of 2014 with Mahoning Valley and June 12 of last season while with Lake County. He was also named the Midwest League’s Player of the Month last June, although he was recognized with the award after being promoted to High-A Lynchburg.
Mejia will return to the field with his five-game hitting streak when Akron opens its homestand with Harrisburg on Tuesday from Canal Park.