Scouting Yankees Prospect #7: Mark Melancon

Expected to be an early round pick back in 2006, Mark Melancon slipped down to the Yankees in the 9th round that year due to injury concerns. Succumbing to Tommy John surgery after just six professional appearances with the Staten Island Yankees that same year, the former University of Arizona closer has worked his way back and some insiders believe he could have a 'Joba-like' year in 2008.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Mark Melancon
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: March 25, 1985
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 215
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"Mark Melancon is awesome," said Yankees minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras. "He can get a lot of people out at any level, he's got that kind of stuff. Both fastballs have life, the curveball is awesome, the changeup has come tremendously quick, and he looks outstanding.

"He can be next year's Joba, he has that kind of stuff. Does he throw 100 MPH? No, but he's got some power stuff. He can move quick."

A recipient of Tommy John surgery on Halloween of 2006 after making four brief appearances with the West Oahu CaneFires of the Hawaiian Winter League that offseason, the speed with which he has returned has been nothing short of remarkable.

"I feel like I just left, I feel great," Melancon said after facing live batters in two Instructional League camps this past offseason. "How do I explain it? It feels like I just came off an offseason, not even like I've had surgery, and just starting back up again. I feel good. I didn't have any pain in my elbow, my shoulder, nothing, so I was excited."

Getting his stuff back very quickly, including rediscovering his power fastball upon his return, he has also refined his changeup - a pitch he had not thrown much prior to his surgery - into a serviceable pitch.

"At the end of the Dominican I was very happy with it," he said of his changeup. "I told Nardi Contreras that I was extremely happy with my location of my curveball down there too, but the thing I was happiest about was my changeup and how well that's developed. It has become an actual pitch for me and something I can use in situations where I need it and have confidence in it.

"It's good to get ahead of hitters with and it's good to throw in those fastball counts, get the guys guessing and get their timing off. It's just a good third pitch. I wish my changeup was as good as my curveball and I think it will be here pretty soon. I just need to throw it more in game-like situations and that's the goal, to definitely have it as good as my fastball and my curveball."

Known for his nasty curveball more so than lighting up the radar gun, while he won't hit the 100 MPH plateau like a Joba Chamberlain, Melancon's sinking two-seamer gets so much running action that it can be nearly as effective.

"That guy's two-seamer looks like a lefty's curveball," said catcher Austin Romine, "it's ridiculous. That's one of the hardest pitches to catch. That two-seamer is ridiculous. He has so much command on the mound and yet he knows he can do better. He's just dirty."

"It's funny because I don't make it do that," Melancon said of his two-seamer. "That action has always come natural. I love it when catchers say that but really I don't try do that at all, it's just how it works."

Armed with all the necessary pitches to be a stalwart at the back-end of a big league bullpen someday, and showing that kind of ability through his rehab during Dominican Instructs, he believes he is on the right track.

"Just like I told Nardi, my biggest goal - I know the Dominican was a short period of time but even weeks prior to the Dominican I felt my location was very consistent - and I think my biggest goal is to be as consistent, if not better.

"I was very pleased with how consistent my location with all my pitches were down in the zone, left and right. It was very good and I was very happy with that. If I can just improve on that a little bit, continue to work on my curveball and changeup, I think that's my biggest goal."

Feeling incredibly strong and with his stuff not missing a beat during his rehab, not only do most insiders believe he has the ability to get to the big leagues this coming season but Melancon himself is just as confident.

"I think it's realistic, definitely," he said. "I don't think they would say that just to say that. That gives me some hope and it propels me to work that much harder. It's nice that people have faith in me and I appreciate that a lot."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2006

Staten Island

0-1

2

7.2

9

2

8

3.52



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Melancon has both a four-seam and a two-seam fastball. His four-seamer ranges 92-94 MPH with good movement and he can touch 96 MPH at times, but his bread-and-butter is his nasty sinking two-seamer that sits comfortably 90-94 MPH [a range he hit during Dominican Instructs] with good running action. It tails in to right-handed batters and away from lefties, and unlike most two-seamers, his is a very good strikeout pitch and not necessarily thrown to just induce contact.

Other Pitches. Melancon has a plus curveball that he goes to as his main strikeout weapon. A breaking ball that is often compared to that of Angels closer Frankie Rodriguez, he can drop one over the plate for a called strike or bury it in the dirt for the swinging strikeout. He has the confidence and command of it to throw it in any situation. He rounds out his repertoire with a very good changeup, a pitch he didn't throw very much in college. His changeup is not up to par with his two-seamer or his curveball, but it is another swing-and-miss pitch for him that he can locate down in the strike zone.

Pitching. Melancon has quite an extensive repertoire for a late-inning reliever. While he won't dazzle opposing batters with tremendous velocity, he keeps them off-balance with great location and wicked movement of three big league pitches. Possessing makeup off the charts, nothing fazes him on the mound and he attacks batters with great confidence. He is an extremely hard worker and that has allowed him to make a quick return from Tommy John surgery. Melancon is also a very level-headed person, one who gets along with all of his teammates and feels comfortable in any situation. He really has no weaknesses in his game.

Projection. Quite simply he has the stuff, command, and makeup to be an elite closer at the big league level - period! His presence in the organization is one of the reasons why so many insiders believe the Yankees can put Joba Chamberlain into the starting rotation with no long-term ill-effects on the bullpen. With Mariano Rivera signed for four more years he will have to break into the big leagues as a setup man where he can learn from Rivera as his heir-apparent.

ETA. 2008. Melancon has so many believers inside the organization that he got an invitation to big league camp with virtually no professional experience. Where he begins the 2008 season has little bearing on where he will eventually finish, which could be the big leagues. We're betting he'll see some action in the Bronx this coming season.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Mark Melancon
\r\nPosition: Starting Pitcher
\r\nDOB: March 25, 1985
\r\nHeight: 6'2\"
\r\nWeight: 215
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"Mark Melancon is awesome,\" said Yankees minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras. \"He can get a lot of people out at any level, he's got that kind of stuff. Both fastballs have life, the curveball is awesome, the changeup has come tremendously quick, and he looks outstanding.
\r\n
\r\n\"He can be next year's Joba, he has that kind of stuff. Does he throw 100 MPH? No, but he's got some power stuff. He can move quick.\"
\r\n
\r\nA recipient of Tommy John surgery on Halloween of 2006 after making four brief appearances with the West Oahu CaneFires of the Hawaiian Winter League that offseason, the speed with which he has returned has been nothing short of remarkable.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like I just left, I feel great,\" Melancon said after facing live batters in two Instructional League camps this past offseason. \"How do I explain it? It feels like I just came off an offseason, not even like I've had surgery, and just starting back up again. I feel good. I didn't have any pain in my elbow, my shoulder, nothing, so I was excited.\"
\r\n
\r\nGetting his stuff back very quickly, including rediscovering his power fastball upon his return, he has also refined his changeup - a pitch he had not thrown much prior to his surgery - into a serviceable pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"At the end of the Dominican I was very happy with it,\" he said of his changeup. \"I told Nardi Contreras that I was extremely happy with my location of my curveball down there too, but the thing I was happiest about was my changeup and how well that's developed. It has become an actual pitch for me and something I can use in situations where I need it and have confidence in it.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's good to get ahead of hitters with and it's good to throw in those fastball counts, get the guys guessing and get their timing off. It's just a good third pitch. I wish my changeup was as good as my curveball and I think it will be here pretty soon. I just need to throw it more in game-like situations and that's the goal, to definitely have it as good as my fastball and my curveball.\"
\r\n
\r\nKnown for his nasty curveball more so than lighting up the radar gun, while he won't hit the 100 MPH plateau like a Joba Chamberlain, Melancon's sinking two-seamer gets so much running action that it can be nearly as effective.
\r\n
\r\n\"That guy's two-seamer looks like a lefty's curveball,\" said catcher Austin Romine, \"it's ridiculous. That's one of the hardest pitches to catch. That two-seamer is ridiculous. He has so much command on the mound and yet he knows he can do better. He's just dirty.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It's funny because I don't make it do that,\" Melancon said of his two-seamer. \"That action has always come natural. I love it when catchers say that but really I don't try do that at all, it's just how it works.\"
\r\n
\r\nArmed with all the necessary pitches to be a stalwart at the back-end of a big league bullpen someday, and showing that kind of ability through his rehab during Dominican Instructs, he believes he is on the right track.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just like I told Nardi, my biggest goal - I know the Dominican was a short period of time but even weeks prior to the Dominican I felt my location was very consistent - and I think my biggest goal is to be as consistent, if not better.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was very pleased with how consistent my location with all my pitches were down in the zone, left and right. It was very good and I was very happy with that. If I can just improve on that a little bit, continue to work on my curveball and changeup, I think that's my biggest goal.\"
\r\n
\r\nFeeling incredibly strong and with his stuff not missing a beat during his rehab, not only do most insiders believe he has the ability to get to the big leagues this coming season but Melancon himself is just as confident.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it's realistic, definitely,\" he said. \"I don't think they would say that just to say that. That gives me some hope and it propels me to work that much harder. It's nice that people have faith in me and I appreciate that a lot.\"
\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

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n Staten Island

\r\n

\r\n 0-1

\r\n

2

\r\n

\r\n 7.2

\r\n

9

\r\n

2

\r\n

8

\r\n

\r\n 3.52


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Melancon has both a four-seam and a two-seam fastball. His four-seamer ranges 92-94 MPH with good movement and he can touch 96 MPH at times, but his bread-and-butter is his nasty sinking two-seamer that sits comfortably 90-94 MPH [a range he hit during Dominican Instructs] with good running action. It tails in to right-handed batters and away from lefties, and unlike most two-seamers, his is a very good strikeout pitch and not necessarily thrown to just induce contact.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. Melancon has a plus curveball that he goes to as his main strikeout weapon. A breaking ball that is often compared to that of Angels closer Frankie Rodriguez, he can drop one over the plate for a called strike or bury it in the dirt for the swinging strikeout. He has the confidence and command of it to throw it in any situation. He rounds out his repertoire with a very good changeup, a pitch he didn't throw very much in college. His changeup is not up to par with his two-seamer or his curveball, but it is another swing-and-miss pitch for him that he can locate down in the strike zone.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. Melancon has quite an extensive repertoire for a late-inning reliever. While he won't dazzle opposing batters with tremendous velocity, he keeps them off-balance with great location and wicked movement of three big league pitches. Possessing makeup off the charts, nothing fazes him on the mound and he attacks batters with great confidence. He is an extremely hard worker and that has allowed him to make a quick return from Tommy John surgery. Melancon is also a very level-headed person, one who gets along with all of his teammates and feels comfortable in any situation. He really has no weaknesses in his game.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Quite simply he has the stuff, command, and makeup to be an elite closer at the big league level - period! His presence in the organization is one of the reasons why so many insiders believe the Yankees can put Joba Chamberlain into the starting rotation with no long-term ill-effects on the bullpen. With Mariano Rivera signed for four more years he will have to break into the big leagues as a setup man where he can learn from Rivera as his heir-apparent.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2008. Melancon has so many believers inside the organization that he got an invitation to big league camp with virtually no professional experience. Where he begins the 2008 season has little bearing on where he will eventually finish, which could be the big leagues. We're betting he'll see some action in the Bronx this coming season.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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