Tigers Scouting Report #20: Melvin Mercedes

It's been a rather long time coming for Melvin Mercedes, but after years of bouncing around the farm, Mercedes made his move last season, using his power fastball to post minuscule ERA's at Lakeland and Erie. Can the big righty emerge as a back end of the bullpen candidate?

Melvin Mercedes


Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 11/2/1990 (2014 Opening Day Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6-3/250
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2007
Ranking History: #97 (2009), #42 (2010), #80 (2011), #30 (2012), #56 (2013), #20 (2014)

Background: Mercedes has taken the long road to the Major League radar with stops at every level of the organization and a significant arm injury along the way. Since returning to the diamond in 2011, Mercedes has dominated hitters, posting a 2.67 ERA with Connecticut in 2011, a 2.80 ERA at West Michigan in 2012, and a 1.19 ERA across High-A and Double-A in 2013.


2013 Stats - Pitching
Lakeland 2401128.02317351710.961.003-1
Erie 2601225.023310491921.441.282-1

Scouting Report

Body: Round; continues to get bigger; conditioning can be a problem at times; very lackadaisical approach to managing weight/body; has good natural strength; physical maintenance will be key to reaching ceiling.

Delivery/Mechanics: Can show a little effort at times; typically nice and easy throughout; body can get in the way; arm slot is consistent in ¾ range; good extension out front; nothing pretty but it works well in short bursts.

Fastball: FB sits easy 93-95 with heft; can reach 97-98 when he needs it; ball doesn't lose life in upper velo range; extremely heavy sink that makes pitch play up a full grade at times; difficult to square; can rely on FB alone to get job done. Grade – Present 6+/Future 7

Slider: Short, tight; can overthrow ball too much at times; needs to trust it to induce weak contact; works in low- to mid-80s; won't miss bats at highest level but will be good change of pace from plus-plus heat; solid-average pitch with minimal projection. Grade – 5/5+

Control/Command: Lacks refined strike throwing ability; command lags significantly behind control; needs to harness raw stuff; FB can completely lose zone at times; shows some ability to regain control when he loses it; will never have better than below-average control; command will be non-existent.

Other: Easy going attitude; goes with the flow; enjoys the game; has fun on the field; questions about how much he wants it.

Final Word

Summary: FB is the meal ticket; very difficult to hit and he knows it; will throw at any time; SL can be good in stints; needs to improve control to have high-impact MLB future; body must be watched and could get out of control; inability to miss bats limits high-leverage ceiling.

Risk: Low risk; upper level dominance; could pitch in MLB right now; just needs polishing for big league success.

Projection: Has FB to fit in late innings; doesn't miss enough bats to close games; likely 7th/8th inning arm that will have stretches of utter dominance; headed to Triple-A Toledo this season; should see time in Detroit and could force his way into a significant role.

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