Mesa Figuring It Out

About as tantalizing a 'four-tool prospect' as there is, Melky Mesa had lived in relative baseball obscurity because of his inability to either hit or lay off of good breaking pitches. Hitting .269 with just a couple of weeks left in the season, however, Mesa, who entered the year with a career high .235 average back in 2007, may have finally figured it out at the plate.

"You never want to go on record as saying ‘yeah he figured it out' because he's still in A-ball," Tampa manager Torre Tyson said. "He's been impressive to say the least."

The career .215 hitter went 2-3 on Monday night, giving him a .302 batting average since June 1st and it's that ten week stretch that makes many team insiders believe it's not just some hot streak.

"More contact with the ball and put the ball in play more, that's been the biggest difference," Melky 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.

"I feel like everything is coming together – defense, running the bases, hitting. I feel like a player now, a much, much better player now."

His power-speed combination was always as good as it gets and in that regard he hasn't disappointed again in 2010, stealing 30 bases and clubbing 18 home runs thus far.

"I can keep it going," Mesa added. "I feel like I can do it because I can hit better now. Last year I struggled at the end but this year is different, I feel stronger towards the end."

Noting how he had a hot six or seven week period with the Charleston RiverDogs last year before fading down the stretch, the fact that this year's hot-hitting has lasted longer and has occurred towards the end of the season makes many believe 2010 is completely different.

"He had that good six or seven week stretch right in the middle of the season last year and then couldn't make much of adjustment later in the season," Tyson said. "The difference I think this year is everybody knew him.

"Everybody had the book on him and he wasn't surprising people whereas that's why I think he had the good six or seven week period last year, because he was getting his fastballs and he was hurting them. He was [also] lower in the lineup last year and then when he got moved up to the heart of the lineup at the end of the year, that's when he really struggled because he saw a lot of offspeed pitches.

"He has been four-five-six [in the lineup] all year for us this season and everybody knows who he is. The book is out on him so he's had to do this, hitting .270 or whatever he's at now, being in the heart of the lineup. So that's what makes this a lot more impressive for me than last year's stretch where he was hot."

While his skipper won't take the leap by claiming his talented outfielder has finally figured it out at the plate, Mesa himself says he absolutely has and he now considers himself one of the top prospects in the organization.

"I always felt that way but I just needed to keep working at it," Mesa said with a smile. "I just needed to get better and I feel like that's what I've been doing. I've gotten better at everything I think."

Seeing his former GCL Yankees teammate Brandon Laird flourish this year after just an okay season in Tampa last season, Mesa believes he too could be primed for a huge season next year once he gets out of the Florida State League.

"Or better," he said confidently. "If I keep my focus and be positive all of the time, yeah, 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."

And that's where his manager will go, noting just how far Mesa has come with handling the offspeed pitches and what that could mean in the immediate future.

"Mesa is crippling pitches this year that he did not hurt last year," Tyson said. "I think this will give him a good base to find some middle ground and hopefully take off next year."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"You never want to go on record as saying ‘yeah he figured it out' because he's still in A-ball,\" Tampa manager Torre Tyson said. \"He's been impressive to say the least.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe career .215 hitter went 2-3 on Monday night, giving him a .302 batting average since June 1st and it's that ten week stretch that makes many team insiders believe it's not just some hot streak.
\r\n
\r\n\"More contact with the ball and put the ball in play more, that's been the biggest difference,\" Melky 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\"I feel like everything is coming together – defense, running the bases, hitting. I feel like a player now, a much, much better player now.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis power-speed combination was always as good as it gets and in that regard he hasn't disappointed again in 2010, stealing 30 bases and clubbing 18 home runs thus far.
\r\n
\r\n\"I can keep it going,\" Mesa added. \"I feel like I can do it because I can hit better now. Last year I struggled at the end but this year is different, I feel stronger towards the end.\"
\r\n
\r\nNoting how he had a hot six or seven week period with the Charleston RiverDogs last year before fading down the stretch, the fact that this year's hot-hitting has lasted longer and has occurred towards the end of the season makes many believe 2010 is completely different.
\r\n
\r\n\"He had that good six or seven week stretch right in the middle of the season last year and then couldn't make much of adjustment later in the season,\" Tyson said. \"The difference I think this year is everybody knew him.
\r\n
\r\n\"Everybody had the book on him and he wasn't surprising people whereas that's why I think he had the good six or seven week period last year, because he was getting his fastballs and he was hurting them. He was [also] lower in the lineup last year and then when he got moved up to the heart of the lineup at the end of the year, that's when he really struggled because he saw a lot of offspeed pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has been four-five-six [in the lineup] all year for us this season and everybody knows who he is. The book is out on him so he's had to do this, hitting .270 or whatever he's at now, being in the heart of the lineup. So that's what makes this a lot more impressive for me than last year's stretch where he was hot.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile his skipper won't take the leap by claiming his talented outfielder has finally figured it out at the plate, Mesa himself says he absolutely has and he now considers himself one of the top prospects in the organization.
\r\n
\r\n\"I always felt that way but I just needed to keep working at it,\" Mesa said with a smile. \"I just needed to get better and I feel like that's what I've been doing. I've gotten better at everything I think.\"
\r\n
\r\nSeeing his former GCL Yankees teammate Brandon Laird flourish this year after just an okay season in Tampa last season, Mesa believes he too could be primed for a huge season next year once he gets out of the Florida State League.
\r\n
\r\n\"Or better,\" he said confidently. \"If I keep my focus and be positive all of the time, yeah, 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\nAnd that's where his manager will go, noting just how far Mesa has come with handling the offspeed pitches and what that could mean in the immediate future.
\r\n
\r\n\"Mesa is crippling pitches this year that he did not hurt last year,\" Tyson said. \"I think this will give him a good base to find some middle ground and hopefully take off next 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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