Melky Mesa Scouting Report (2009)
From 9-hole hitter to Alfonso Soriano comparisons, the almost 23-year old Melky Mesa of the New York Yankees has become a major sleeper in the organization. With mixed results on the field, Mesa will open the 2010 season in Tampa hoping to build on his near 20-20 “Sally” campaign.
Physique & Athleticism: Listed at 6’1″, 165 lbs., Mesa’s weight seemed light by 20-25 pounds. With size through his quads and room to add upper body strength, his frame has more projection left than the average player in his age 22 season. This, combined with fluid baseball movements make for a great first impression. In game action, Mesa was easily Charleston’s most impressive player from a physical standpoint and I remember wondering what a player like him was doing batting so low in the order.
Offense: As a relative unknown when I first watched him play, Sand Gnats pitchers threw to Mesa’s strength which is hitting the fastball. In his first two at bats, he had a two-strike, seeing eye single to the opposite field followed by a hard line drive down the left-field line for a double.
In seeing him a second time, He was fed a steady diet of off-speed pitches which exposed his major weakness and led to a multi-strikeout performance. Mesa’s moving from lottery ticket to legitimate prospect is dependent on his lowering his total of 168 strikeouts in 2009. However, he did show the ability to take pitches the other way and fight off two-strike offerings leading me to believe there is some hope. His swing involves a “step in the bucket” which leaves him lunging and pulling off breaking stuff quite often. Pulling off causes his bat to drag and his swing to become long. With power to spare, his shortening his stride would allow him to utilize his plus bat speed even more than he already does.
His problems are not atypical of many Latin prospects, but his advanced age makes him a unique case in that you simply do not see Mesa’s projection from “Sally” players his age. This makes it difficult to really gauge his prospect potential.
Defense: Mesa’s “wow” moment came on a base hit down the right field line which settled in the Savannah bullpen. After picking the ball up with his back to the play, Mesa turned and threw a laser for a strike to the third-baseman to cut off a Sand Gnats runner at third base. With excellent range and a fantastic arm, Mesa profiles as a plus defender at the corners with the ability to play some center-field as well.
Speed: Mesa’s physique is build for speed as his explosive legs give way to a lean upper body. However, with 18 steals in 24 attempts, his stolen base skills are rough around the edges. With a speed score of 7.4, he tied for 7th in the “Sally” with Orioles speedster Xavier Avery. While he has the ability to steal 25-30 bags or more, his instincts are only so-so and his .309 OBP certainly does not help.
Melky Mesa is a prospect I have literally been thinking about for months. As somebody who uses first hand accounts of players, statistical analysis, and age versus level to gauge prospect value, Mesa has enough red flags for me to fight back my adoration of his raw tools. While I despise the Alfonso Soriano comps, I understand where they come from considering Soriano’s contact issues and breakthrough during his age 25 season. At this point, to consider Mesa as anything more than a lottery ticket would be a mistake as his biggest weakness is arguably the most difficult to remedy.
23 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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