Interviewing South Atlantic League All-Star MJ Melendez

I was recently lucky enough to have the chance to talk with one of the Kansas City Royals top prospects and South Atlantic League All-Star MJ Melendez. MJ answered a couple of questions for me about his season and his professional career to date. MJ is a great kid from a great family and Royals fans ought to be excited for his future. Enjoy!

Q: “You’ve been destroying the baseball of late. Your bat speed registered in the triple digits when you were drafted, have you always hit for this much power?”

MJ: “I actually have not always hit for power. Growing up I was always one of the shorter and skinnier kids on my team. When I started growing taller, I started working out a lot and taking care of my body to eventually grow into my body.”

Q: “Your catching partner and fellow All-Star in Lexington, Sebastian Rivero, was a bit underlooked coming into this season. Those of us that follow the system in depth always knew about his defense, but now he’s hitting too. How much have you guys learned from each other this season and how nice is it to have another defensive wizard back there to help you grow as a catcher?”

MJ: “First off, I’m extremely grateful to have such a great relationship with my fellow catcher! We have both definitely learned a lot from each other this season whether it’s learning how to get out of a slump or pointers on how to pitch to the opponents line up the next day. He is an amazing player and teammate.”

Q: “You’ve hit an absurd amount of triples for a catcher this season. Is it nice to help put some respect on catchers speed? Have you always been a good runner like that?”

MJ: “Hahaha most definitely! I think most catchers are overlooked speed wise but there are some fast catchers out there! I’ve always been a pretty smart base runner, and I was pretty fast for my age when I was younger I’d say.”

Q: “As you start to settle in to the routine of a full professional baseball season, what are the biggest differences on and off the field when compared to high school baseball?”

MJ: “The biggest differences are definitely playing games every single day! And off the field is being away from my family.”
Q: “What would you say is the best part about your defense behind the plate? Receiving? Blocking? Throwing? Calling the game?”
MJ: “I’d say all those parts of my catching play a big role in my complete self as a catcher. I don’t know if any of those are better than the other, I think if I’m maybe slacking a little in one area during a game, the others pick up the slack to make up for it.”
Q: “Baseball can be a grind. Especially the minor leagues. How do you keep yourself focused on a daily basis know your ultimate goal is probably a few years into your future?”
MJ: “I understand that every day is a new day to continue to become a better baseball player physically and mentally and that takes time and experience. I can only control whatever happens in the present and I’m just enjoying this journey as it unfolds!”
There ya go Royals fans. Your 2018 South Atlantic League All-Star describes a bit about himself and his season so far!

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