Scouting Yankees Prospect #6: Mark Melancon

The Yankees drafted right-handed pitcher Mark Melancon in the 9th-round of the 2006 MLB Draft out of the University of Arizona. He missed all of 2007 after having Tommy John surgery - the main reason he slipped as far as he did in the draft - but he broke out in a big way in his first season back and now he's ready to help out the big league bullpen.

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

"All in all it was very good," Melancon said of his 2008 season. "I was coming back from surgery and I was 100 percent pretty much from the get-go, and not having any sort of setbacks with my elbow or shoulder. It's just been great."

Performance aside, the fact he pitched throughout the entire 2008 season and without further injury or soreness is quite remarkable, and as a result he turned supporters inside of the organization into diehard fans.

"We really liked him out of the draft," Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said. "We knew it was going to be a year of rehab. There are no more diligent rehabbers than Mark Melancon. He's as good as anybody we've ever had here.

"Melancon went right into the Florida State League this year, then the Eastern League and then International League. That's more than we could have hoped for. I expected A-ball and Double-A. I didn't expect Triple-A."

Surpassing expectations, Melancon posted a combined 8-2 record and 2.27 ERA over three minor league levels and advanced all the way to Triple-A in what was essentially his first full professional season.

"Melancon had a tremendous year, his first full year coming off of Tommy John surgery and also his first full year of professional baseball," Yankees minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said. "He succeeded at every level and he's learned at every level. He's a kid who knows what he wants and he works at it."

As if his natural physical abilities weren't enough, it's Melancon's uncanny makeup and tremendous work ethic that inevitably are the first traits mentioned when discussing him.

Armed with a fastball that tops out at 96 MPH and a big-time curveball, while he has the stuff to strike more batters out, he had the foresight to focus his attention on perfecting his changeup and become a better overall pitcher instead of piling up numbers.

"He didn't have a changeup going to the Dominican [Instructs] last year and so he worked on his changeup," Contreras added. "He could probably strike out a lot more guys if he wanted to just using his fastball and curveball, but he developed his changeup and that he did.

"He's become a guy who can throw his changeup for strikes and get people out with his changeup. He's not a two-pitch pitcher, he's a three-pitch pitcher with both fastballs too.

"He's got a power sinker and he's got a power fastball he can get to the mid-90's. He's capable of doing some things. Of course the presence he takes on the mound is tremendous, and his work ethic is awesome."

He has so few weaknesses in his game, if any, that many believe he could have pitched in the big leagues last season had it not been for growing 40-man roster depth and some key offseason additions needing those spots.

Melancon, who doesn't have the type of ego to hold grudges or feel he should be handed anything, would rather use last season's momentum as a springboard to the big leagues.

"The surgery is behind me, my arm problems are behind me, I've had some experience, and I feel it's just right around the corner," Melancon said. "Just that hint of success makes you want to work that much harder."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2008

Scranton

1-1

1

20.0

11

4

22

2.70

2008

Trenton

6-0

2

49.2

32

12

47

1.81

2008

Tampa

1-0

0

25.1

26

6

20

2.84

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 in his arsenal, but he's more of a power-sinker pitcher. His sinker ranges anywhere from 90-94 MPH and it's a nasty pitch with the running action he generates with it. It bores down and in to right-handed batters and away from left-handed batters in a lefty power-slider fashion, and opposing batters can't get good wood in it. So while it is a weapon designed to induce harmless contact, it is also a strikeout pitch. He also throws a four-seam fastball in the 92-94 MPH and topping out around 96 MPH, and it gives him a pitch to get the ball upstairs and give opposing batters a different plane with the baseball. He has excellent command of both fastballs.

Other Pitches. Melancon's main strikeout pitch is his plus 12-to-6 curveball that is one of the better curveballs in the entire organization. It's a real hammer pitch that drops right down into the zone and he also has such good command of it that he can bury in the dirt for the swinging strike when needed. The biggest success for him in 2008 was the development of his changeup into another plus pitch. It was just an average changeup when he first signed and it was a pitch he threw infrequently. He now has the plus command, good fading action, and the confidence to throw it in any situation for either a ground ball or for the strikeout.

Pitching. Melancon is as physically gifted as anyone. Armed with three plus pitches, a strong-framed body, solid mechanics, and great command, there's little he can't do. He is also very adept at keeping the ball down in the zone. But while those are all excellent traits, it's his special mental makeup that separates him from the rest of the pack. He doesn't just thrive in pressure situations, he actually seeks them out. And when there is a weakness or adjustment to be made, he doesn't rest until it is rectified. He is unflappable on the mound and he has the innate ability to tunnel vision his focus on the catcher's mitt. Throw in the fact he is beloved by teammates and coaches alike, he provides a strong leadership presence that can be contagious.

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 coming off of arguably his best season and with no signs of letting up, Melancon will have to break into the big leagues as a setup man where he can learn from Rivera as his heir-apparent.

ETA. 2009. Melancon was big league ready by the end of the season last year and he has nothing else to work on [or prove] in the minors. He has an excellent chance of breaking Spring Training with the Yankees. If there's no room for him, he should be on the Bronx-Scranton shuttle in 2009.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Mark Melancon
\r\nPosition: Relief Pitcher
\r\nDOB: March 25, 1985
\r\nHeight: 6'2\"
\r\nWeight: 215
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"All in all it was very good,\" Melancon said of his 2008 season. \"I was coming back from surgery and I was 100 percent pretty much from the get-go, and not having any sort of setbacks with my elbow or shoulder. It's just been great.\"
\r\n
\r\nPerformance aside, the fact he pitched throughout the entire 2008 season and without further injury or soreness is quite remarkable, and as a result he turned supporters inside of the organization into diehard fans.
\r\n
\r\n\"We really liked him out of the draft,\" Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said. \"We knew it was going to be a year of rehab. There are no more diligent rehabbers than Mark Melancon. He's as good as anybody we've ever had here.
\r\n
\r\n\"Melancon went right into the Florida State League this year, then the Eastern League and then International League. That's more than we could have hoped for. I expected A-ball and Double-A. I didn't expect Triple-A.\"
\r\n
\r\nSurpassing expectations, Melancon posted a combined 8-2 record and 2.27 ERA over three minor league levels and advanced all the way to Triple-A in what was essentially his first full professional season.
\r\n
\r\n\"Melancon had a tremendous year, his first full year coming off of Tommy John surgery and also his first full year of professional baseball,\" Yankees minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said. \"He succeeded at every level and he's learned at every level. He's a kid who knows what he wants and he works at it.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs if his natural physical abilities weren't enough, it's Melancon's uncanny makeup and tremendous work ethic that inevitably are the first traits mentioned when discussing him.
\r\n
\r\nArmed with a fastball that tops out at 96 MPH and a big-time curveball, while he has the stuff to strike more batters out, he had the foresight to focus his attention on perfecting his changeup and become a better overall pitcher instead of piling up numbers.
\r\n
\r\n\"He didn't have a changeup going to the Dominican [Instructs] last year and so he worked on his changeup,\" Contreras added. \"He could probably strike out a lot more guys if he wanted to just using his fastball and curveball, but he developed his changeup and that he did.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's become a guy who can throw his changeup for strikes and get people out with his changeup. He's not a two-pitch pitcher, he's a three-pitch pitcher with both fastballs too.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got a power sinker and he's got a power fastball he can get to the mid-90's. He's capable of doing some things. Of course the presence he takes on the mound is tremendous, and his work ethic is awesome.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe has so few weaknesses in his game, if any, that many believe he could have pitched in the big leagues last season had it not been for growing 40-man roster depth and some key offseason additions needing those spots.
\r\n
\r\nMelancon, who doesn't have the type of ego to hold grudges or feel he should be handed anything, would rather use last season's momentum as a springboard to the big leagues.
\r\n
\r\n\"The surgery is behind me, my arm problems are behind me, I've had some experience, and I feel it's just right around the corner,\" Melancon said. \"Just that hint of success makes you want to work that much harder.\"
\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

\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 2008

\r\n

\r\n Scranton

\r\n

\r\n 1-1

\r\n

1

\r\n

\r\n 20.0

\r\n

11

\r\n

4

\r\n

22

\r\n

\r\n 2.70

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Trenton

\r\n

\r\n 6-0

\r\n

2

\r\n

\r\n 49.2

\r\n

32

\r\n

12

\r\n

47

\r\n

\r\n 1.81

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n 1-0

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 25.1

\r\n

26

\r\n

6

\r\n

20

\r\n

\r\n 2.84

\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 in his arsenal, but he's more of a power-sinker pitcher. His sinker ranges anywhere from 90-94 MPH and it's a nasty pitch with the running action he generates with it. It bores down and in to right-handed batters and away from left-handed batters in a lefty power-slider fashion, and opposing batters can't get good wood in it. So while it is a weapon designed to induce harmless contact, it is also a strikeout pitch. He also throws a four-seam fastball in the 92-94 MPH and topping out around 96 MPH, and it gives him a pitch to get the ball upstairs and give opposing batters a different plane with the baseball. He has excellent command of both fastballs.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. Melancon's main strikeout pitch is his plus 12-to-6 curveball that is one of the better curveballs in the entire organization. It's a real hammer pitch that drops right down into the zone and he also has such good command of it that he can bury in the dirt for the swinging strike when needed. The biggest success for him in 2008 was the development of his changeup into another plus pitch. It was just an average changeup when he first signed and it was a pitch he threw infrequently. He now has the plus command, good fading action, and the confidence to throw it in any situation for either a ground ball or for the strikeout.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. Melancon is as physically gifted as anyone. Armed with three plus pitches, a strong-framed body, solid mechanics, and great command, there's little he can't do. He is also very adept at keeping the ball down in the zone. But while those are all excellent traits, it's his special mental makeup that separates him from the rest of the pack. He doesn't just thrive in pressure situations, he actually seeks them out. And when there is a weakness or adjustment to be made, he doesn't rest until it is rectified. He is unflappable on the mound and he has the innate ability to tunnel vision his focus on the catcher's mitt. Throw in the fact he is beloved by teammates and coaches alike, he provides a strong leadership presence that can be contagious.
\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 coming off of arguably his best season and with no signs of letting up, Melancon 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. 2009. Melancon was big league ready by the end of the season last year and he has nothing else to work on [or prove] in the minors. He has an excellent chance of breaking Spring Training with the Yankees. If there's no room for him, he should be on the Bronx-Scranton shuttle in 2009.
\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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