by Antonio Puesán
For the Dominican Jose Ramon Mesa Jr., 2017 is a year of great challenges, as the prospect of the New York Yankees has in mind that this year will be important in his aspirations of reaching the major
leagues. Mesa Jr. is the son of former major leaguer Jose Mesa, who pitched for 19 years, while saving 321 games with eight organizations. Mesa Jr. knows that he has a great mentor who has taught him what he has to do to achieve his great dream of being a big leaguer.
Mesa Jr, a product of the 2012 draft selected in the 24th round by the Yankees is currently one of the best arms of the team’s system and has the mentality and maturity necessary to be a major pitcher coming from the bullpen.
He has in his arsenal four pitches that can dominate in any situation. Mesa’s maturity came early when in 2012 he did not play in the Gulf Coast League (Rookie Level) after undergoing Tommy John surgery and not allowing him to make his professional debut until the 2014 season. By then at age 20 he was 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA in nine games. In 2015 he returned to the rookie league and was promoted on July 11 to the short season class A in the NY-Penn League becoming one of the best relievers of his team compiling a 3-0 record in 10 games with the Staten Island Yankees. He had a short visit in Staten Island and received a call on August 15th and was promoted to the Charleston River Dogs in the South Atlantic League where he had a 2.97 ERA in 14 games.
In 2016, after starting the season with the Tampa Yankees in the Advanced Class A level, Mesa Jr. was placed on the inactive list because of problems in his throwing arm.
After spending the rest of the 2016 season receiving treatment and therapy in Miami and completing rehab with his father in Santo Domingo, Mesa Jr. started 2017 on fire showcasing a powerful arm out of the bullpen, striking out 10 batters in three relief appearances before awarding a single run to score.
“My relationship with my father is what any child would want; having a father who played in the Major Leagues is a blessing. Whenever I show him something that happened to me in the game, he understands every detail and he instantly tells me what I did wrong,” says the young pitcher.
The Licey Tigers of the Dominican winter baseball league selected Mesa Jr. with the 18th pick in the 2016 draft, the same team that his father played with for eight seasons.
“I trust in God that everything will work out well. I’ve worked hard in the off season so my arm responds well and I can keep climbing through the system so one day I can reach the majors,” said Mesa Jr. as he arrived from the gym in Tampa to be ready for the game.
This season is very clear for Mesa Jr. as he is ready to receive the call from the New York Yankees and throw in a Major League mound.