Prospect Profile: Kevin Melillo

Oakland A's second base prospect Kevin Melillo knows a thing or two about winning. During his amateur baseball career, Melillo has appeared on three College World Series squads, a USA Baseball 16 and Under Gold Medal team, and a 13-year-old Babe Ruth League World Series championship club. He began his professional career in much the same fashion, as he helped lead the Vancouver Canadians to a regular season Northwest League title. So what's next for the A's second base prospect?

Kevin Melillo, 6'0'', 190, Career Statistics

Year

Team

Lg

Age

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

BB

K

XBH

2004

VAN

NW

22

.340

.422

.564

94

32

11

2

2

11

16

15



Melillo knows what it is like to have famous teammates. In high school, he was the less-well known half of the celebrated Lake Brantley High School double-play combination, teaming with future top prospect Rickie Weeks. On the USA Baseball 16 and Under team and in college at University of South Carolina, Melillo was teammates with celebrated catching prospect Landon Powell (who was drafted by Oakland in the first round in 2004). Melillo hasn't let the fame of his teammates overshadow his own accomplishments, however.

Although Melillo struggled with a variety of injuries as an undergrad at South Carolina, he still showed enough during his college career for the A's to grab him in the fifth round of the June 2004 draft. Melillo came to the A's organization with a reputation for having a very strong work ethic and for having strong footwork around the second base bag.

There were questions about how well Melillo would hit as a professional after he struggled at times at the plate in college. Melillo's college hitting stats weren't overwhelming, as he only posted one season with an OPS over 900. However, many believed that Melillo was a better hitter than his college numbers showed and the A's gave him a chance to prove it.

After signing for a $200,000 bonus in July, Melillo was sent to short-season A Vancouver. Upon his arrival in the Pacific Northwest, Melillo immediately answered all of the major concerns about his ability to hit with a wooden bat. Although he was once again limited by injuries, Melillo still managed to impress during his 22 games for the Canadians. He posted a 986 OPS and showed an ability to be a run-producer from the second base position by driving in 21 runs in only 22 games.

Melillo has a compact, line-drive hitting stroke that is similar to that of top A's second base prospect Omar Quintanilla. He strikes out a bit more often than Quintanilla, but still showed good plate patience. He runs well, although he probably won't ever steal a lot of bases. Melillo right now has good extra-base power that could develop into more homerun hitting power as he gets older.

Defensively, Melillo is solid. He has somewhat limited range, but has great footwork turning the double-play and soft hands. The Florida native spent time working on his defense during the Fall Instructional League and showed marked improvement by the end of the season. Although Melillo only played 22 games at short-season Vancouver, the A's may have Melillo skip low-A Kane County and head right to high-A Stockton.

Long-term, Melillo has a good chance to be a solid major league second baseman. With his collegiate experience, Melillo should move quickly through the A's system provided he continues to hit.


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