Hello and welcome. It feels like forever since we did our first ever Top 100 list this winter. We’ll be updating our lists throughout the year to include new prospects, but we’ll vote on a new top 100 twice a year. One mid-season, one in the offseason. In case you missed our last top 100 segment, here is a link to every write up we did this winter.
This season, our top 100 we’ll consist of an aggregate of four of our writers’ individual lists. We average the lists out to give you a consensus top 100.
Check out the rest of our list here:
#3 MJ Melendez, C
Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 185 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: A-
Acquired: 20187MLB Draft
2018 Stats: 84 G, 353 PA, .239/.303/.481/.784, 18 2B, 7 3B, 15 HR, 30.6% K%, 8.2% BB%, 116 wRC+
Here’s a list of teenage catchers to hit 10+ home runs in the minor leagues so far this season:
- MJ Melendez (15)
- Miguel Almaya (12)
That’s it. That’s the list. In addition, here’s a list of teenage catchers to hit 15+ HR in the minors since 2006:
- MJ Melendez
- Chase Vallot
- Tommy Joseph
- Oscar Hernandez
- Gary Sanchez (2x)
- Jesus Montero (2x)
- Sebastian Valle
That’s a very short list for 13 seasons of minor league baseball. MJ Melendez has shown some serious pop for a catcher this season, and it’s even more impressive when you consider his age and the level that he’s playing in. MJ has pretty well silenced all of those people who questioned whether or not he could hit for power coming out of the draft, as the Royals top catching prospect has hit 40 XBH in 84 games this season for the Lexington Legends.
In addition to swinging a powerful bat, MJ Melendez may very well be the top defensive prospect in the entire organization. Humberto Arteaga, Sebastian Rivero, and Blake Perkins would make it close, but Melendez is an extremely advanced defensive catcher for his age. He’s thrown out 24 of 56 would be base stealers, good for a rate of 43% in his first full season of pro-ball. That’s uhh, really good folks.
In MJ Melendez, you get a massive ceiling and a potential All-Star backstop. Shortly after he was drafted, I wrote this article declaring that MJ Melendez was the heir to Salvador Perez’ throne. From day one I was all in, and absolutely nothing has changed for me. MJ still strikes out more than you’d like, his 17.7% SwStr% is a bit concerning, and his BB% is down nearly 5% from 2017. He’s not a perfect prospect, and most publications don’t even have them in their top 100 yet because of those issues.
But MJ Melendez is a top 100 prospect. He might be one of the top 30 defensive prospects in all of Minor League Baseball at one of the most premium positions. His glove and his arm are way ahead of the curve for his age, and as we’ve already discussed, he’s showing power that we rarely see from teenage catchers. The Royals will probably take it slow with MJ as he learns to handle a pitching staff, improve his hit tool, and learns to command the zone a bit better, but there’s no reason not to expect this kid to have a chance to play in Kansas City in 2021. His ceiling is equal to that of which we’ve been watching behind the plate for 8 seasons now in Kansas City. You ought to be as excited about this kid as you are any one in the Royals system.