Across the sport, the majors are in the midst of a renaissance of incredible young starting pitching. To merely name Clayton Kershaw, Jose Fernandez, Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg as elite under-26 talents is to neglect the work of Madison Bumgarner, Shelby Miller, Matt Moore, Chris Sale and so many outstanding others.
But those are the big names, the ones who win awards and headline highlight packages. Everyone knows them. While the attention is mostly given to those top-line pitchers, there's an impressive crop of young arms behind them who may not be future aces in the sense that Fernandez and Harvey might be, yet are still making names for themselves at the beginning of what could be very productive careers. Let's shine a spotlight on four under-the-radar pitchers who are excelling this season.
While all of the pitching press in Flushing these days goes to Harvey and Zack Wheeler, the Mets do have a pitcher younger than Harvey who was in the big leagues before he or Wheeler were even in the organization. Mejia was rushed to the show as a reliever in 2010 at just 20 years old by the previous administration, perhaps trying to generate some excitement while fearing (correctly) that their tenure was ending. Mejia had been a starter in the minors and a nicely regarded prospect, but struggled with his command out of the bullpen that season while throwing nearly 80 percent fastballs -- which did little for the development of his secondary pitches. He then blew out his elbow early the next season and missed most of 2011 and 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery.