Cleveland Indians prospect Francisco Mejia earned this year’s MiLBY for Best Individual Performance, for going on baseball’s longest hitting streak since 1954.
Mejia’s 50-game hitting streak began May 27 when he was a member of the Midwest League’s Lake County Captains; he collected two hits against the Fort Wayne TinCaps that day. After getting hits in 24 consecutive games, Mejia was promoted to the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, for whom he collected hits in his first 26 games. Mejia collected the last hit of his streak on Aug. 13; it was a grounder originally scored as an error on the opposing third baseman, but changed to an infield hit after the game.
During his 50-game streak, Mejia also hit safely in the Midwest League All-Star Game and the All-Star Futures Game. Those hits don’t count toward the streak, but are noteworthy because of when they occurred. Another footnote worth mentioning: Mejia was almost traded to Milwaukee when he was 42 games into his streak, but the transaction didn’t go through because then-Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy vetoed it.
Mejia’s 50-game hitting streak tied him with Otto Pahlman for the fifth-longest hitting streak in professional baseball history. Pahlman went on his 50-game hitting streak for the 1922 Danville Veterans of the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League. (The Three-I League disbanded four decades later, allowing Appleton, Burlington and Cedar Rapids to move to the Midwest League. Although Danville didn’t join the MWL at that time, the Illinois city has been home to MWL teams in the past, most recently in 1982.)
Mejia played 60 games with the Captains and 42 games with the Hillcats in 2016, cumulatively batting .342 with 11 homers, 29 doubles and 80 runs batted in. That was a vast improvement over his 2015 season, during which he batted .243 with 9 HR, 13 doubles and 53 RBI in 109 games with the Captains.