Braves released first baseman Ernesto Mejia today so he could play in Japan Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Braves Release Ernesto Mejia

The Braves released long time minor leaguer Ernesto Mejia today so he could play for the Seibu Lions of the Japanese Pacific League. Mejia joined  the Braves system in 2005 and stayed through 2009. He spent 2010 in the Royals farm system but returned to the Braves in 2011. As Ryan noted earlier in the week, Ernesto was off to a hot start with a .354/.420/.684 slash in his 88 plate appearances but is of course blocked in Atlanta by Freddie Freeman . He’s always had power in the minors but a less than sterling glove marked him as a classic AAAA player and he never got a cup of coffee in Atlanta. Other teams must have felt the same as there were at least three desperately searching for a first baseman this year and none asked about Mejia.  This move opens a spot on the Braves 40 man roster.  Everyone here at the Take wish Ernesto success in Japan. Hopefully he’ll follow the path of many others and come back to get a chance in the Majors.

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  • Chris Headrick

    What was the line from “Moneyball” when Billy Beane and one of his coaches went to visit Scott Hatteberg to offer him a 1B job when he’d never played there, and when his career was more or less over? I think it was the coach that went with Billy to Scott’s house that said about how hard it is to play 1B, “It’s incredibly hard”.

    And it is… Mejia has always had pop, but I cannot imagine why any professional athlete has never been able to learn to play 1B at least manageable. That seems to be his primary fault, and frankly he’s quite bad at that position. Even at that you’d think some professional team would pick him up, just on his bat. Strange.

    • fireboss

      From the little I’ve seen of his play, Mejia’s problem at first is not all that different from an outfielder trying to play the infield. You have to have soft hands so the ball doesn’t bounce off or out of the glove instead of nestling in it. You must also learn the first base dance; getting the footwork down so the foot is on the bag and your stretch isn’t too early or in the wrong direction all while keeping the runner’s spikes off of your leg and not breaking your arm reaching across the baseline for an errant thrown . First is different from anywhere else simply because what you deal with 99% of the time is throws not batted balls. Troy Glaus played third at a high level but at first he might as well have been a brick wall. He didn’t become a bad infielder but he never learned to catch the throws that came to him and he couldn’t get his feet where they needed to be quickly enough. Mejia’s been doing it long enough to have the footwork down as good as it will ever be but not everyone dances well. Soft hands are something you either have or you don’t . Mejia does well considering his – much like Dan Uggla’s – are oak.

      Ernesto must not be able to judge a fly ball either or he’d be a fourth outfielder somewhere. Credit where it’s due he plays at a level that most of us wish we could but not quite the highest level. I wonder how the artificial surfaces in Japan will treat him, I suspect not well.