Melo adjusting to new organization

SURPRISE, AZ - Having never pitched an official game in the U.S., 18-year-old righty Carlos Melo is a bit of an unknown. One thing we do know is that Melo has an electric arm, and he has loads of raw talent. Lone Star Dugout caught up with Melo for a Q&A session during our trip to Arizona.

When Gerald Laird was traded to the Detroit Tigers over the offseason, right-hander Guillermo Moscoso was regarded as the main return for the Rangers. But Carlos Melo, who was 17-years-old at the time of the deal, has the higher ceiling of the two prospects.

Melo signed with Detroit during the summer of 2007 for a reported $165,000. He didn't make his debut until 2008, when he pitched for the Tigers' club in the Dominican Summer League. Melo posted a 5.14 ERA in 49 innings. He surrendered 47 hits, walked 20, and struck out 61.

The native of the Dominican Republic has a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid-90s, and he's already shown the ability to reach the upper-90s at times. Melo also uses a curveball and a changeup, but both pitches are extremely raw.

Lone Star Dugout caught up with Melo for a Q&A session, translated by Michael Ortiz.

Jason Cole: You were traded to the Rangers from the Tigers organization this past offseason. What were your thoughts at the time of the trade?

Carlos Melo: I was a little nervous at first because I wasn't sure what to expect with the Rangers. I had just started with the Tigers, and I didn't know what the Rangers would think of me. I didn't know if I'd have a shot with them.

Cole: Did you pitch in winterball this year?

Melo: I pitched in the instructional league.

Cole: How did you feel you pitched during instructional league last year?

Melo: Good. I feel great and of all the pitchers that were there, I think I threw the best.

Cole: What are your thoughts on the Rangers' organization right now?

Melo: When I first got here, everyone was real nice. They brought me in with open arms. They are wishing me the best of luck and they've been working with me. I feel good. I love the organization right now.

Cole: What pitches do you throw right now?

Melo: I throw a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup.

Cole: How hard do you generally throw your fastball?

Melo: I top out at 97.

Cole: How do you feel you're doing out here so far with the Rangers?

Melo: The coaches are great. I love to work with them. At first, I felt a little bit unsure of myself because I wasn't sure if I was going to fit well with the coaches. I didn't know if the coaches would like my style. But everybody has been great and they've helped me a lot.

Cole: What has been your primary focus in spring training?

Melo: My changeup.

Cole: How long have you been throwing your changeup for?

Melo: Since the fall.

Cole: Have you always thrown your curveball?

Melo: Yes.

Cole: How do you feel about your curveball?

Melo: I feel great. I can throw it for strikes when I want to.

Cole: Have you set any goals for this upcoming season?

Melo: Wherever they put me -- whether I'm starting or relieving -- I want to be the best. I want to show that I'm the real deal and that I can handle the pressure.

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