Finding Ways to Win Is A Meloan Specialty

The Dodgers first saw John Meloan pitch for Taylor High in Houston in 2002 against James Loney who was on the mound for crosstown rival Elkins. Loney was the winner that day which shouldn't be shocking since Elkins was the top-ranked team in the country. However, said scouts liked the manner that Meloan displayed and put him down in their future book.

No one drafted Meloan that year, not because he didn't display talent but rather because he had a definite lack of control over his pitches, walking far too many batters per game. So, he went to the University of Arizona, became the number one starter on a strong team and this spring when he became eligible for the draft again, L.A. grabbed him in the fifth round.

He still had a tendency to become wild on occasion but he's a 6-3, 225-pound righthander with three good pitches who, as scouting director Logan White puts it, "Finds ways to win." That's an assessment that Meloan feels well describes the way he approaches a game.

"I try to give my team a chance. If we score three runs, I have to hold the other team down to two. If we score four, I hold them to three." It certainly worked at Arizona. As a sophomore, Meloan went 10-0, picking up that tenth victory in the College World Series. As a junior, he was 10-3

"I have a very competitive nature," John allows. He's a redhead with a body covered with freckles and such people are reputed to have a temper that matches their hair color. He admits that's true in his case. So, does he get on a teammate who, say, botches a ground ball?

"No, I'd never show up anybody who's out there trying his best. I mostly get on myself for making a bad pitch or not executing properly. I work on controlling that."

Meloan reported late to Ogden after signing not because of a contractual hang-up but because he felt he needed some time to wind down. As a result he was worked slowly into the Raptors scheme of things, first throwing some relief innings, then making the rotation in the second half.

His final won-loss record is a very deceiving 0-2 for he held opponents to a .210 batting average and a 3.29 ERA. His refined his command, striking out 54 in 39 innings while walking only 18. Featuring a fast ball in the 90-93 range, he also has a sharp curve, a cutter and a changeup that he'll throw anytime in the count.

In the playoffs, Ogden had dropped the first of a best-of-three set to Orem when Meloan started game two. "It was a must-win situation and I had to keep my team in there." That he certainly did, throwing seven innings in which he allowed but three hits and a single run. The Raptors rallied to win the game late.

Now, he's in the Instructional League, fine-tuning his pitches and as always, "trying to do better. I'm unhappy when I know that I could have done something I didn't. I play hard -- give 100 percent. That's the way I am."

It's an attitude the Dodgers picked up on three years ago. Now, they're happy they have it working for them.