Mesa Continues To Get Better

With a .243 average so far this season, centerfielder Melky Mesa hopes to make 2012 his year by controlling himself at bat and maintaining his patience at home plate. Having secured a spot on the 40-man roster back in 2010, Mesa is prepared for scouts to recognize his growth since becoming a Yankee prospect in 2003.

"It's tough," Trenton Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. "Melky is a tough guy who had a tough season last year. He'd go out there every day and he'd battle his rear end off and that takes a lot of courage, a lot of mental toughness, and he continues to do that [this season]."

In May of last year, the main concern regarding Mesa's game was his lack of ability to recognize breaking pitches. His hitting coach at the time believed that it was due to his inability to give himself the time to slow the game down and take the correct swing. Almost a full year later, things have taken a turn for the better.

"I think the problem [Melky] had last year was that he didn't recognize offspeed pitches as well as he should have," Franklin added. "Consequently, [his] strike- out totals were up and his contact was down, [but] this year I think it's a little bit opposite.

"The fact that he's recognizing pitches [is] a lot better. There's no question about the fact that he's a great defensive player, so a majority of his focus is on his offensive and I think he is making a lot of progress in that area."

"[I've gotten] better, a lot better, [at recognizing that pitch]," Mesa said. "I just try to get better and better every day, day by day. I think my game will improve this year."

While learning to recognize the breaking pitch, Mesa has also begun to take his time before taking a swing. He's gaining patience at the plate, something that all young players struggle with during the beginning of their career.

"I think [gaining patience] is probably one of the biggest aspects of hitting for young guys," Franklin said. "It's going to help them become better hitters; to be patient, knowing that you can take pitches and take strikes and still be able to hit with a couple of strikes on you.

"Young hitters get anxious and when they get anxious they start expanding their zone, swinging at pitches outside of their zone, and [Melky] is not doing that as much this year."

"Melky is doing a great job," said current Thunder hitting coach Tommy Slater. "He's really doing a great job in his positioning to hit and I've been very pleased in the progress that he is making. He's had a lot of quality at-bats, hit a lot of balls hard and is really just staying with his plan and continuing forward."

Although Mesa feels the same, his speed, agility, and power grow with his time in the minors, allowing for those around him the most to take notice.

"He's a physical specimen," Franklin said. "He's strong and has a very sturdy body and I think that allows him to do the things out there defensively that he does. He takes strong swings [which] takes a lot of physicality. But he's still a young guy.

"He's still putting on some muscle which is great. Endurance is a big factor on how well you're going to play throughout the season and he doesn't seem to get tired. I think that is because of his physical structure and the strength that he possesses."

"He's had great speed ever since I've known him and I don't think he'll lose that," continued Franklin when asked if Mesa is gaining speed as well. "They say speed never dies so if he maintains his speed he'll be just fine.

"And you know, not only does he have very good running speed, he's got quick reactions, so the body strength kind of equates to playing defense as well as running and hitting. You have to have those quick reactions and speed and all those aspects of the game. He's done quite well."

As for improvements, Melky continues to work on developing everything he can to make his way up to the majors. His time during Spring training gave him a start to correcting the few flaws in his game.

"I just do what I want to do and what they want me to do," Mesa said. "I work on my approach and just do what I do every year, normal work out and hit a lot. [I] just [work on] everything."

"As young players, there is always something to work on," Franklin said. "[As a coach], we're never satisfied with what we do even with the improvements we make. What you try to do is get better with [the player] and try to perfect them and hopefully they are going to last you a life time. But the middle edge of the game, the middle aspect of the game; I think that is an area where young players need to focus on.

"It's just a matter of time with Mesa before, I think, the kid is going to put it all together and he's going to end up in the big leagues. No question about it, when he hits, he's in the big leagues. That's how good of a player I think he is."

"I think Melky is doing a great job," Slater said. "Melky is a great kid. He comes in the park ready to play every single day. He works extremely hard in the cages and in his pregame work. If he keeps doing that, sticking to his routine, everything will go real well for him."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"It's tough,\" Trenton Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. \"Melky is a tough guy who had a tough season last year. He'd go out there every day and he'd battle his rear end off and that takes a lot of courage, a lot of mental toughness, and he continues to do that [this season].\"
\r\n
\r\nIn May of last year, the main concern regarding Mesa's game was his lack of ability to recognize breaking pitches. His hitting coach at the time believed that it was due to his inability to give himself the time to slow the game down and take the correct swing. Almost a full year later, things have taken a turn for the better.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the problem [Melky] had last year was that he didn't recognize offspeed pitches as well as he should have,\" Franklin added. \"Consequently, [his] strike- out totals were up and his contact was down, [but] this year I think it's a little bit opposite.
\r\n
\r\n\"The fact that he's recognizing pitches [is] a lot better. There's no question about the fact that he's a great defensive player, so a majority of his focus is on his offensive and I think he is making a lot of progress in that area.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"[I've gotten] better, a lot better, [at recognizing that pitch],\" Mesa said. \"I just try to get better and better every day, day by day. I think my game will improve this year.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile learning to recognize the breaking pitch, Mesa has also begun to take his time before taking a swing. He's gaining patience at the plate, something that all young players struggle with during the beginning of their career.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think [gaining patience] is probably one of the biggest aspects of hitting for young guys,\" Franklin said. \"It's going to help them become better hitters; to be patient, knowing that you can take pitches and take strikes and still be able to hit with a couple of strikes on you.
\r\n
\r\n\"Young hitters get anxious and when they get anxious they start expanding their zone, swinging at pitches outside of their zone, and [Melky] is not doing that as much this year.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Melky is doing a great job,\" said current Thunder hitting coach Tommy Slater. \"He's really doing a great job in his positioning to hit and I've been very pleased in the progress that he is making. He's had a lot of quality at-bats, hit a lot of balls hard and is really just staying with his plan and continuing forward.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlthough Mesa feels the same, his speed, agility, and power grow with his time in the minors, allowing for those around him the most to take notice.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a physical specimen,\" Franklin said. \"He's strong and has a very sturdy body and I think that allows him to do the things out there defensively that he does. He takes strong swings [which] takes a lot of physicality. But he's still a young guy.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's still putting on some muscle which is great. Endurance is a big factor on how well you're going to play throughout the season and he doesn't seem to get tired. I think that is because of his physical structure and the strength that he possesses.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He's had great speed ever since I've known him and I don't think he'll lose that,\" continued Franklin when asked if Mesa is gaining speed as well. \"They say speed never dies so if he maintains his speed he'll be just fine.
\r\n
\r\n\"And you know, not only does he have very good running speed, he's got quick reactions, so the body strength kind of equates to playing defense as well as running and hitting. You have to have those quick reactions and speed and all those aspects of the game. He's done quite well.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs for improvements, Melky continues to work on developing everything he can to make his way up to the majors. His time during Spring training gave him a start to correcting the few flaws in his game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just do what I want to do and what they want me to do,\" Mesa said. \"I work on my approach and just do what I do every year, normal work out and hit a lot. [I] just [work on] everything.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"As young players, there is always something to work on,\" Franklin said. \"[As a coach], we're never satisfied with what we do even with the improvements we make. What you try to do is get better with [the player] and try to perfect them and hopefully they are going to last you a life time. But the middle edge of the game, the middle aspect of the game; I think that is an area where young players need to focus on.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's just a matter of time with Mesa before, I think, the kid is going to put it all together and he's going to end up in the big leagues. No question about it, when he hits, he's in the big leagues. That's how good of a player I think he is.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I think Melky is doing a great job,\" Slater said. \"Melky is a great kid. He comes in the park ready to play every single day. He works extremely hard in the cages and in his pregame work. If he keeps doing that, sticking to his routine, everything will go real well for him.\"
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

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