It was no surprise when the Padres announced that catcher Francisco Mejía had made the opening day big league club. Not only was Mejia a consensus top 30 MLB prospect entering the season, but he added to his résumé by hitting .354/.380/.625 in Spring Training. However, the glory of making his first opening day roster quickly faded as he managed just a .466 OPS across 19 games. That OPS ranks 79th among catchers who have appeared in the Majors this year.
The Padres put Mejia on the Injured List on May 11th, before quietly optioning him to El Paso on June 1st at the end of a 10 day rehab assignment.
“They told me they really wanted me to work on being more consistent receiving and my defense in general. I put in extra work with the coaches down there, and I feel really comfortable,” Mejia said. “They didn’t give me a date that I would be back, but told me to continue working hard, and that I would be back.”
In El Paso, Mejia regained his regular catching duties and flourished. After joining the Chihuahua’s on May 21, Mejía hit .365/.411/.746 with 14 extra-base hits in 18 games.
“They asked me to be a bit more selective with what I was swinging at, and not to swing if it is not my pitch. I knew that if I continued working hard, the hits would start to come.”
While many thought the rebound in the minors was partly due to receiving regular playing time, Mejia declined to attribute his success to his workload. “I want to play every day. Getting into a good routine where I knew I would be playing every day and could prepare for it always helps, but I don’t think it was the reason why I struggled in San Diego,” he said smiling. “No matter how often I play, I want to be ready to help the team.”
Recalled on Monday, Mejia wants to prove that he is up to stay this time.
“I am glad to be back. I know I will do better this time, and will continue to work hard to show that I belong.”