The Baltimore Orioles have a young pitcher that they picked up from the New York Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft who happens to have a famous father.
And, like his father, young Jose Mesa just so happens to be a pitcher. There is something to be said about having good baseball genes.
Details on the Mesa, Senior
The elder Mesa pitched for the Orioles between 1987 and 1992. As a starting pitcher, he had an ERA of 5.41. But, his career ERA in his 19 years in the MLB was 4.36. He was a solid pitcher, but he never won any major awards.
However, he was invited to the All-Star Game in 1995 and 1996 when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians. Even though Mesa started his career as a starting pitcher, he finished as a closer. And, as a closer, he is 18th in All-Time Saves with 321.
What about the kid?
Now that the young Mesa is in the Baltimore Orioles camp in Sarasota, those who watched his father are seeing similarities. According to an article by Eduardo A. Encina with the Baltimore Sun, Mesa is actually competing for a spot in the starting rotation.
In the minor leagues, Mesa has only started nine games, but the kid has proven he can do it. In 2017, in Double-A and Single-A+, when he started games, batters hit a combined slash of .129/.215/.164 against him. If he can carry any of those numbers (or anything close) into the MLB, the kid will make a serious impact.
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According to a Fangraphs article evaluating the Rule 5 Draft picks, Chris Mitchell wrote:
"The son of the former All-Star closer, Mesa pitched excellently as a swingman between High-A and Double-A, posting a 31% strikeout rate and a 1.93 ERA. Despite his bloodlines, the 24-year-old has never been seen as much of a prospect, but he’s always posted gaudy strikeout numbers."
His strikeout numbers have been impressive. In 2017 in Double-A, he posted a rate of 10.22 K/9. In Single-A+, the number was even higher: 11.23 K/9.
Now that Mesa is with a team that his dad was affiliated with, the young pitcher is getting noticed. The Yankees are loaded with prospects. The O’s actually picked up Nestor Cortes from them as well. With the plethora of prospects, it is easy for players to be overlooked.
Unfortunately, because he was overlooked by the Yankees system, there isn’t much information about him. But, as he gets his reps in spring training, Orioles fans should get a chance to see what he has to offer. He does have to prove that he is worth adding to the roster and according to Encina’s article, there are 35 pitchers in Sarasota right now. Now that Andrew Cashner is on the team, that number will move to 36.