Scouting Yankees Prospect #46: Melky Mesa

The Yankees signed Melquisedec, aka "Melky", Mesa on July 2nd in 2003 as a 16-year old. Normally players who spent their first five professional seasons in the short-season leagues like he did would be an afterthought in prospect discussions, but few players have his particular set of tools.

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

He entered the 2009 season as one of the best four-tool players in all of baseball and he did nothing to disprove that assessment this past year, clubbing 20 home runs and stealing 18 bases, all while playing stellar defense and boasting one of the strongest outfield arms in the game.

However, the major problem that has plagued his entire career is that it's the five-tool players that get all the notoriety and Mesa, who has continued to struggle hitting or even laying off of breaking pitches, hit just .225 in the South Atlantic League.

In fairness to him it was higher than his 2008 average in the New York Penn League [.221] and it was significantly higher than his career average entering the year [.207]. So progress was made, even with his approach to breaking pitches.

"We went through a six-week period there in the middle of the season where we were convinced that he had figured it out," Charleston manager Torre Tyson said. "Everything started to happen. He started cutting down the strikeouts, he was laying off of some stuff, and we were really convinced that we finally had something."

Mesa hit an unbelievable .280 between the months of May and June, and slugged 12 home runs, but just as soon as it appeared he had turned the corner in his development, he quickly reverted back to his old form and hit just .177 over his last 61 games.

"Then it was like a light switch went off and he struggled again, and he expanded the zone again."

Dealing with a player whose overall tools grade out among the highest minor league baseball has to offer, sometimes it's necessary to find the small developmental victories and the goods news is Mesa, who entered the year with just 39 career walks in 192 games, walked a career-high 51 times in 2009.

"He's got a ways to go," Yankees senior vice-president Mark Newman said. "He certainly made strides this year and especially in the first half.

"Because the tool package is so special we're going to keep working at this intensely and the one thing he does do is work."

An elite fastball hitter, Mesa has made slow and steady progress learning to hit curveballs and sliders, the lone area of weakness in his game.

"I don't know how steady it's been, but it certainly has been slow," Newman added. "He really works at it and he has a great attitude.

"He can juice a baseball, he can fly, and he can throw. When you get tools like Melky has, and you get an attitude and work ethic like he has, you stick with it because his ceiling is way up there."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

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. First, the positives: there isn't a fastball Mesa can't hit because he has elite bat speed. So despite being a wiry but strong player, that superb bat speed allows him to generate a lot of torque and that gives him plus power all-around. He has power to all fields but he is predominantly a pull-power hitter at the current time. Now the negative: as noted above, he has big problems hitting breaking pitches. He has made big strides laying off of breaking pitches out of the zone and he has gotten better making more consistent contact with them, but he still has a long way to go. He won't ever be a high-average hitter but the power is legit.

Base Running and Speed. His 15 career stolen bases over five seasons entering the 2009 campaign never did him justice, and while he stole a career-high 18 bags in Charleston this past year, even that is not emblematic of his plus speed. He has elite speed and he's a good baserunner. His biggest issue, as is the case with his overall game, is getting on-base consistently. He could easily steal 30-50 bases should he ever get his on-base percentage anywhere close to the .340 range.

Defense. Mesa is also an elite defensive player. His signature calling card is his plus, plus arm. It's easily one of the strongest outfield arms in the game and he is quite accurate with his throws. His plus speed also gives him great range, enough so that he could man centerfield, but the entire package allows him to be a stud defensive right fielder.

Projection. Nobody has the overall tools that Melky Mesa has. He has middle of the lineup kind of power, leadoff hitter type of speed, and superb defensive ability and versatility. The combination gives him one of the highest ceilings not just in the organization, but in all of minor league baseball. Whether or not he reaches his potential all hinges on his ability to become more adept at hitting breaking pitches and laying off of them more consistently. If he could ever do that, and six years into his career suggests the chances aren't great, he could be a perennial All-Star big league player. If he could just get even a little bit better in that regard, and his 2009 development is a sign he does have that abiltiy, the rest of his game could make him quite a valuable big league reserve outfielder.

ETA. 2011. Despite just getting into the short-season leagues for the first time in 2009, he could take off at a moment's notice. He's Rule 5 Draft eligible every year going forward so that will speed up his timetable. He should open up the 2010 campaign in Tampa.

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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\nHe entered the 2009 season as one of the best four-tool players in all of baseball and he did nothing to disprove that assessment this past year, clubbing 20 home runs and stealing 18 bases, all while playing stellar defense and boasting one of the strongest outfield arms in the game.
\r\n
\r\nHowever, the major problem that has plagued his entire career is that it's the five-tool players that get all the notoriety and Mesa, who has continued to struggle hitting or even laying off of breaking pitches, hit just .225 in the South Atlantic League.
\r\n
\r\nIn fairness to him it was higher than his 2008 average in the New York Penn League [.221] and it was significantly higher than his career average entering the year [.207]. So progress was made, even with his approach to breaking pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"We went through a six-week period there in the middle of the season where we were convinced that he had figured it out,\" Charleston manager Torre Tyson said. \"Everything started to happen. He started cutting down the strikeouts, he was laying off of some stuff, and we were really convinced that we finally had something.\"
\r\n
\r\nMesa hit an unbelievable .280 between the months of May and June, and slugged 12 home runs, but just as soon as it appeared he had turned the corner in his development, he quickly reverted back to his old form and hit just .177 over his last 61 games.
\r\n
\r\n\"Then it was like a light switch went off and he struggled again, and he expanded the zone again.\"
\r\n
\r\nDealing with a player whose overall tools grade out among the highest minor league baseball has to offer, sometimes it's necessary to find the small developmental victories and the goods news is Mesa, who entered the year with just 39 career walks in 192 games, walked a career-high 51 times in 2009.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got a ways to go,\" Yankees senior vice-president Mark Newman said. \"He certainly made strides this year and especially in the first half.
\r\n
\r\n\"Because the tool package is so special we're going to keep working at this intensely and the one thing he does do is work.\"
\r\n
\r\nAn elite fastball hitter, Mesa has made slow and steady progress learning to hit curveballs and sliders, the lone area of weakness in his game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't know how steady it's been, but it certainly has been slow,\" Newman added. \"He really works at it and he has a great attitude.
\r\n
\r\n\"He can juice a baseball, he can fly, and he can throw. When you get tools like Melky has, and you get an attitude and work ethic like he has, you stick with it because his ceiling is way up there.\"
\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 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. First, the positives: there isn't a fastball Mesa can't hit because he has elite bat speed. So despite being a wiry but strong player, that superb bat speed allows him to generate a lot of torque and that gives him plus power all-around. He has power to all fields but he is predominantly a pull-power hitter at the current time. Now the negative: as noted above, he has big problems hitting breaking pitches. He has made big strides laying off of breaking pitches out of the zone and he has gotten better making more consistent contact with them, but he still has a long way to go. He won't ever be a high-average hitter but the power is legit.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. His 15 career stolen bases over five seasons entering the 2009 campaign never did him justice, and while he stole a career-high 18 bags in Charleston this past year, even that is not emblematic of his plus speed. He has elite speed and he's a good baserunner. His biggest issue, as is the case with his overall game, is getting on-base consistently. He could easily steal 30-50 bases should he ever get his on-base percentage anywhere close to the .340 range.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. Mesa is also an elite defensive player. His signature calling card is his plus, plus arm. It's easily one of the strongest outfield arms in the game and he is quite accurate with his throws. His plus speed also gives him great range, enough so that he could man centerfield, but the entire package allows him to be a stud defensive right fielder.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Nobody has the overall tools that Melky Mesa has. He has middle of the lineup kind of power, leadoff hitter type of speed, and superb defensive ability and versatility. The combination gives him one of the highest ceilings not just in the organization, but in all of minor league baseball. Whether or not he reaches his potential all hinges on his ability to become more adept at hitting breaking pitches and laying off of them more consistently. If he could ever do that, and six years into his career suggests the chances aren't great, he could be a perennial All-Star big league player. If he could just get even a little bit better in that regard, and his 2009 development is a sign he does have that abiltiy, the rest of his game could make him quite a valuable big league reserve outfielder.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2011. Despite just getting into the short-season leagues for the first time in 2009, he could take off at a moment's notice. He's Rule 5 Draft eligible every year going forward so that will speed up his timetable. He should open up the 2010 campaign in Tampa.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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