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JC Mejia Suspended 80 Games for PEDs

For the second time already this season, a Milwaukee Brewers player has been suspended for 80 games following a positive PED test. JC Mejia will miss the nearly three months of games and be ineligible to compete in the 2022 playoffs. 

In Apirl, we watched the Brewers' front office quickly react to news that catcher Pedro Severino had been popped for 80 games for his positive PED test. They quickly acquired catchers Victor Caratini (from the Padres) and Alex Jackson (from Atlanta). 

On Tuesday, the Brewers had to again quickly react to another PED suspension on their roster. This time, reliever JC Mejia, who was just called up last week from Nashville, heads to the restricted list for 80 games after testing positive for Stanozolol. That does free up a spot on the 40-man roster, and the Brewers called up Trevor Kelley from Nashville to take his spot on the 26-man roster. 

JC Mejia signed with Cleveland way back in 2013 out of the Dominican Republic. After three seasons in the DSL, he came to the States and very slowly climbed the organizational ladder. He finished the 2019 season at High-A Lynchburg. Following the Covid-lost 2020 season, he began 2021 at Triple-A Columbus. By May 21, he made his MLB debut with Cleveland. In 17 games (11 starts), he went 1-7 with an ERA of 8.25. In 52 1/3 innings, he gave up 60 hits (including 13 home runs), walked 24, and struck out 47 batters. 

After the season, he was DFAd by Cleveland and traded to the Brewers in exchange for infielder David Fry. He began this season with Nashville and was very good. In 10 2/3 innings over nine appearances, he had a 0.84 ERA. He had given up just one run on four hits. He had walked six batters, but he also struck out 15. 

Needing an arm last week, he was called up to Milwaukee and made two appearances for the Brewers. They didn't go well. He gave up five runs on three hits and three walks in just 1 1/3 innings in his first appearance last Wednesday. On Saturday, he gave up one run on two hits and two walks in one inning. 

How will the Brewers replace his 23.14 ERA and 4.286 WHIP in their bullpen?

29-year-old veteran Trevor Kelley will get the first shot. He had made 13 appearances for Nashville and worked 13 innings. He was 1-1 with a save and a 0.69 ERA. He had 17 strikeouts and just four walks. 

Kelley spent the full 2021 season with Gwinnett, Atlanta's Triple-A affiliate, despite a 1.52 ERA and a 10.0 K/9. In 2020, he pitched in four games with the Phillies. He debuted as a 26-year-old with the Red Sox in 2019 when he went 0-3 with an 8.64 ERA in 10 games. 

The Brewers bullpen has been solid, or at least it's been alright. Well, Josh Hader has been as good as he's ever been, and Brad Boxberger is pitching really well too. They're getting decent performances and looking for more consistency. 

The roster spot vacated by Mejia is a back-of-the-bullpen spot that will likely be used in lower-leverage situations. It could be a revolving door of pitchers, trying to find someone who can be reliable. For teams expecting to compete, it makes a lot of sense to sign several relievers like Trevor Kelley, and several others pitching out of the Sounds' bullpen. Others who could be considered if needed include Hobie Harris (29), Connor Sadzeck (30), Luis Perdomo (29), Miguel Sanchez (28), and Luke Barker (30). Pitchers such as Josh Lindblom (35), Jason Alexander (29), and Caleb Boushley (28) could be backend bullpen guys as needed as well. 

And if you're looking for a prospect to come up and contribute, 25-year-old Ethan Small is currently 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA in In 32 1/3 innings, he has 46 strikeouts (12.8 K/9) in his seven starts. The one issue has been the 21 walks (5.8 BB/9). He profiles pretty similarly to Aaron Ashby

So, what are your thoughts on the news about JC Mejia? Can Trevor Kelley fill the role, or do you think it would be a revolving door on the 26 and 40-man rosters? Which veterans are you intrigued by at Nashville? And, what circumstance would you consider best for bringing up Ethan Small? Leave your COMMENTS below. 

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Brewer Fanatic Contributor

Typing error aside in Jeff's post, my money is on Sadzeck as 'next man up'. He's routinely touching 97-98 on the gun when he needs to. He's getting decent whiffs (just north of 10/9 ip). And, most importantly, he's finally healthy after two years of struggling in that department. Hobie Harris has the 0.00 but he doesn't have Sadzeck's 'stuff'. Sadzeck is also one of those 6'7" imposing guys.

I would also say, even tho his era jumped a wee bit after scuffling some in his past couple outings, don't sleep on Strzelecki. He has comparables to all these older vets and a higher k/9 rate. He's probably lower on the proverbial totem pole given this is his first full Triple-A season but he has stuff at 27 years of age that speaks to an eventual shot at some point here in the next couple years.

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  • 3 months later...

Just as FYI,  David Fry was the player traded to acquire JC Mejia. He is among the Guardian players going out to play in the Arizona Fall league this year.. He has only played a handful of games at C this year for AAA Columbus..

#Guardians participating in the Arizona Fall League:

RHP Mason Hickman

RHP Cade Smith

RHP Lenny Torres

C/INF David Fry

INF Angel Martinez

OF Connor Kokx

Coach Junior Betances



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