Ernesto Mejia could get a chance to stick with Braves

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Ernesto Mejia, a first baseman who has spent many years in the Atlanta Braves farm system, was placed on the 40-man roster, protecting him from this week's Rule 5 draft. What are his recent stats from the minors?

Ernesto Mejia, who has spent eight years in the minor leagues with the Atlanta Braves' organization, has been added to the team's 40-man roster and will have a chance to earn a backup first baseman's job with the Braves this spring, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In the last two seasons with the Double-A Mississippi Braves and the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves, Mejia has hit .296 with 50 home runs and 191 RBIs. In his winter league games in Venezuela, he had hit .329 with a .565 slugging percentage before Tuesday. He was also leading his league in home runs with 10 and tied for second in RBIs with 29, earning him a spot in the Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela winter league all-star game.

Braves GM Frank Wren has acknowledged that Mejia has developed into a consistent hitter while down in the minors. Placing him on the 40-man roster protects him from this week's Rule 5 draft:

"That's why we felt compelled to put him on the roster, because he just keeps progressing as a hitter....He's really turned into a pretty feared hitter. In Triple-A he was really impressive, and now he's repeated it down [in winter ball]."

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