Scouting Yankees Prospect #14: Melky Mesa

The Yankees signed Melquisedec [aka "Melky"] Mesa on July 2nd in 2003 as a 16-year old. His first six professional seasons were defined by two things - amazing tools and incredibly inconsistent performances. He finally turned those tools into production last year, however, earning the Florida State League Hitter of the Year honors and a resulting spot on the 40-man roster.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Melky Mesa
Position: Right Field
DOB: January 31, 1987
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 175
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"I was surprised," Mesa said of the award. "I don't know where I'm at in this part of the game. I just go out there and play the game, and I'll take it. I've worked hard on everything, hitting, playing better defense and getting better day-by-day. That's my goal, that's what I do."

Always known for his plus power, plus speed, and plus-plus arm strength ever since he first signed, it was his inability to lay off of or even hit decent breaking balls that had always plagued him.

In true Pedro Cerrano-like fashion from the move Major League, Mesa had consistently missed breaking pitches over the years, and often times missed badly. He finally started correcting that problem in 2010, however, resulting a career-high .260 average, topping his previous high of .235 back in 2007.

"More contact with the ball and put the ball in play more, that's been the biggest difference," Mesa said. "I'm working hard with the breaking ball machine and my approach. I let them come [in] now and I'm hitting them.

"If I keep my focus and be positive all of the time, I think I can do better. Breaking pitches are not an issue anymore. Bad breaking pitches? Just let it go, just take it and put a good swing on a good one. That's it."

A pull-hitter seemingly forever, Mesa finally learned to go with the pitches and use the entire field more. That basic approach - easy to identify but harder to implement - allowed his other tools to flourish.

"He's always had just ridiculous power," Tampa Yankees manager Torre Tyson said. "That's always been there and he's really cut down on his strikeouts and put the ball in play more. With that speed, he's going to get on base.

"{In 2009] he wasn't putting the ball in play as much and therefore his average suffered compared to [last] year. I think the higher he goes, the pitching's going to get better and around the zone more, but he's just got such great hands that I think the more around the plate they are, the better he's going to be because he's going to put the ball in play."

It's that kind of thought process as well as his sky-ceiling that made his selection to the 40-man roster this offseason a no-brainer.

"It's all up to him," Tampa hitting coach Julius Matos said. "I think the book has been opened, but it's not written on him yet. It's what he makes of it now.

"He's still got some improvements to make with his strike zone discipline and being a higher average guy, but all the other tools are there. I see him making it. I see him being an impact player in the big leagues, and sometime soon."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2010 Tampa .260 446 21 19 74 81 31 44 129 .338 .475
2009 Charleston .225 497 24 20 74 76 18 51 168 .309 .423
2008 Staten Island .221 122 5 7 23 19 4 4 38 .252 .467
2007 GCL Yankees .235 153 10 3 13 27 5 9 55 .293 .386
2006 GCL Yankees .207 145 7 3 22 20 3 11 45 .266 .345
2005 DSL Yankees1 .304 23 2 2 6 3 1 3 7 .407 .652
2004 DSL Yankees2 .146 144 5 3 10 13 2 12 67 .279 .243


Batting and Power. Mesa is one of the true elite fastball hitters in all of minor league baseball. He has extremely quick hands and even faster bat speed, so there isn't a fastball he can't get good wood on. He used to have a much longer swing and he has choked up in recent years, and cut out on some unnecessary movements in his swing. He has also opened up his stance more and that has allowed him to sit back longer when waiting for breaking pitches. He has gotten better at hitting breaking balls, even hitting them for opposite field home runs last year. In true Vladmir Guerrero-like fashion, he is ultra-aggressive in the batter's box and not very patient, and that will prevent him from being a high-average hitter.

Base Running and Speed. For years Mesa's stolen base totals belied his actual plus speed. Erratic in the running game, he always got by on speed alone but finally learned to read pitcher's moves better last year, resulting in career highs in stolen bases [31] and success rate. He has the natural speed and athleticism to be an annual 30+ stolen base threat if he continues to keep up his on-base percentages.

Defense. As impressive as his power and speed are, his defensive prowess is even better. He has a plus-plus arm in the outfield, arguably one of the best in all of baseball, and he is very accurate with his throws too. He always had the speed to give him great range in the outfield and now he's better at getting jumps and reading the ball coming off of the bat. He has Gold Glove caliber abilities in right field, but he can also play a terrific centerfield.

Projection. For years Mesa's ceiling was that of a 30-30 [home runs/stolen bases] potential big league All Star outfield type with superb defensive abilities, but it all hinged on his ability to handle breaking pitches consistently. He started doing that last year, making reaching his ceiling a bit more likely and less of a pipe dream. He has all of the other tools in place to be a quality reserve outfielder, but even that is dependent on his ability to hit breaking pitches. As a result his ceiling is just a likely as his floor projection-wise. It will be all about consistently hitting the breaking pitches going forward.

ETA. 2012. The big test for Mesa comes in 2011 as he heads to Double-A Trenton. If he has a season like he had last year, he'll be big league ready the following year.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Melky Mesa
\r\nPosition: Right Field
\r\nDOB: January 31, 1987
\r\nHeight: 6'1\"
\r\nWeight: 175
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"I was surprised,\" Mesa said of the award. \"I don't know where I'm at in this part of the game. I just go out there and play the game, and I'll take it. I've worked hard on everything, hitting, playing better defense and getting better day-by-day. That's my goal, that's what I do.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlways known for his plus power, plus speed, and plus-plus arm strength ever since he first signed, it was his inability to lay off of or even hit decent breaking balls that had always plagued him.
\r\n
\r\nIn true Pedro Cerrano-like fashion from the move Major League, Mesa had consistently missed breaking pitches over the years, and often times missed badly. He finally started correcting that problem in 2010, however, resulting a career-high .260 average, topping his previous high of .235 back in 2007.
\r\n
\r\n\"More contact with the ball and put the ball in play more, that's been the biggest difference,\" Mesa said. \"I'm working hard with the breaking ball machine and my approach. I let them come [in] now and I'm hitting them.
\r\n
\r\n\"If I keep my focus and be positive all of the time, I think I can do better. Breaking pitches are not an issue anymore. Bad breaking pitches? Just let it go, just take it and put a good swing on a good one. That's it.\"
\r\n
\r\nA pull-hitter seemingly forever, Mesa finally learned to go with the pitches and use the entire field more. That basic approach - easy to identify but harder to implement - allowed his other tools to flourish.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's always had just ridiculous power,\" Tampa Yankees manager Torre Tyson said. \"That's always been there and he's really cut down on his strikeouts and put the ball in play more. With that speed, he's going to get on base.
\r\n
\r\n\"{In 2009] he wasn't putting the ball in play as much and therefore his average suffered compared to [last] year. I think the higher he goes, the pitching's going to get better and around the zone more, but he's just got such great hands that I think the more around the plate they are, the better he's going to be because he's going to put the ball in play.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt's that kind of thought process as well as his sky-ceiling that made his selection to the 40-man roster this offseason a no-brainer.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's all up to him,\" Tampa hitting coach Julius Matos said. \"I think the book has been opened, but it's not written on him yet. It's what he makes of it now.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's still got some improvements to make with his strike zone discipline and being a higher average guy, but all the other tools are there. I see him making it. I see him being an impact player in the big leagues, and sometime soon.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

Team

\r\n

AVG

\r\n

AB

\r\n

2B

\r\n

HR

\r\n

RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

SB

\r\n

BB

\r\n

SO

\r\n

OBP

\r\n

SLG

\r\n 2010\r\n Tampa\r\n .260\r\n 446\r\n 21\r\n 19\r\n 74\r\n 81\r\n 31\r\n 44\r\n 129\r\n .338\r\n .475
\r\n 2009\r\n Charleston\r\n .225\r\n 497\r\n 24\r\n 20\r\n 74\r\n 76\r\n 18\r\n 51\r\n 168\r\n .309\r\n .423
\r\n 2008\r\n Staten Island\r\n .221\r\n 122\r\n 5\r\n 7\r\n 23\r\n 19\r\n 4\r\n 4\r\n 38\r\n .252\r\n .467
\r\n 2007\r\n GCL Yankees\r\n .235\r\n 153\r\n 10\r\n 3\r\n 13\r\n 27\r\n 5\r\n 9\r\n 55\r\n .293\r\n .386
\r\n 2006\r\n GCL Yankees\r\n .207\r\n 145\r\n 7\r\n 3\r\n 22\r\n 20\r\n 3\r\n 11\r\n 45\r\n .266\r\n .345
\r\n 2005\r\n DSL Yankees1\r\n .304\r\n 23\r\n 2\r\n 2\r\n 6\r\n 3\r\n 1\r\n 3\r\n 7\r\n .407\r\n .652
\r\n 2004\r\n DSL Yankees2\r\n .146\r\n 144\r\n 5\r\n 3\r\n 10\r\n 13\r\n 2\r\n 12\r\n 67\r\n .279\r\n .243

\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. Mesa is one of the true elite fastball hitters in all of minor league baseball. He has extremely quick hands and even faster bat speed, so there isn't a fastball he can't get good wood on. He used to have a much longer swing and he has choked up in recent years, and cut out on some unnecessary movements in his swing. He has also opened up his stance more and that has allowed him to sit back longer when waiting for breaking pitches. He has gotten better at hitting breaking balls, even hitting them for opposite field home runs last year. In true Vladmir Guerrero-like fashion, he is ultra-aggressive in the batter's box and not very patient, and that will prevent him from being a high-average hitter.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. For years Mesa's stolen base totals belied his actual plus speed. Erratic in the running game, he always got by on speed alone but finally learned to read pitcher's moves better last year, resulting in career highs in stolen bases [31] and success rate. He has the natural speed and athleticism to be an annual 30+ stolen base threat if he continues to keep up his on-base percentages.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. As impressive as his power and speed are, his defensive prowess is even better. He has a plus-plus arm in the outfield, arguably one of the best in all of baseball, and he is very accurate with his throws too. He always had the speed to give him great range in the outfield and now he's better at getting jumps and reading the ball coming off of the bat. He has Gold Glove caliber abilities in right field, but he can also play a terrific centerfield.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. For years Mesa's ceiling was that of a 30-30 [home runs/stolen bases] potential big league All Star outfield type with superb defensive abilities, but it all hinged on his ability to handle breaking pitches consistently. He started doing that last year, making reaching his ceiling a bit more likely and less of a pipe dream. He has all of the other tools in place to be a quality reserve outfielder, but even that is dependent on his ability to hit breaking pitches. As a result his ceiling is just a likely as his floor projection-wise. It will be all about consistently hitting the breaking pitches going forward.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2012. The big test for Mesa comes in 2011 as he heads to Double-A Trenton. If he has a season like he had last year, he'll be big league ready the following year.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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