MiLM for 5/4/22: MJ Melendez shines in debut

Be sure to check out the most recent edition of the RFR Podcast where Joel, Josh, and myself take a look at MJ Melendez’ call up. We also sit down with Australian native Robbie Glendinning and talk about his success with the Royals AA affiliate in Northwest Arkansas this year.

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Jared pumped out our first “MiLB Players of the Month” on Monday.

It didn’t take long for Pasquantino to pick up right where he left off in 2021 with the NW Arkansas Naturals. He slashed .282/.398/.507 with a .905 OPS. In 21 games, Pasquantino hit five doubles, three home runs, drove in seventeen, and stole three bases…He sported an insane 11.4% strikeout rate with a 15.9% walk rate drawing more walks (14) than strikeouts (10) in April.

MJ Melendez is finally here, but there could be even more lineup help coming soon.

Hopefully Isbel can take the reigns right off the bat and see more consistent playing time. He started off strong in his first game up going two for four and driving in two key runs to help the Royals win against the White Sox. There is no doubt Isbel is ready for everyday at-bats in the show. He doesn’t have anything left to prove in the minors, and he could provide a much-needed power/speed blend in this big-league Royals lineup. 

MJ Melenez goes 1-3 with a walk in MLB debut

I want to stop and talk about MJ Melendez for a moment. He looked incredible last night. In his first at bat, he took a good swing at an inside fastball and grounded out to the right side on a ball he hit 92 mph. In his second at bat, he laced a 102 mph line drive into deep LF that would have been a home run in 14 of the 30 MLB parks. Tyler O’Neill, last year’s NL Gold Glove winner in LF, tracked it down. In his third at bat, Melendez laced another line drive 95 mph into LF for his first big league hit. Then he walked in his last plate appearance after being down in the count early. He was hammering baseballs all over the place in his first three at bats and then drew an impressive walk to end his night. He almost literally could not have been much better in his major league debut. Melendez, by the way, is also just the beginning. Vinnie Pasquantino is tearing the cover off of the ball in Omaha and Nick Pratto has five home runs himself. Vinnie needs to be up now. Pratto probably isn’t far behind. The quicker they get these guys to the big leagues, the quicker the Royals will be a product worth spending money on again.

AAA Omaha (11-13): L 5-7

Jackson Kowar toed the rubber for Omaha yesterday morning for his third start since being sent back to AAA. He was brilliant in his first couple of innings, but folded rather quickly after giving up a grand slam in the third. He gave up seven total runs and only recorded 10 outs. I’m not really sure what to make of him at the moment…this isn’t close to anything what we saw from him at the beginning of last season. Kind of makes me sad, honestly. On a more positive note, Vinnie Pasquantino hit his fifth home run of the year and finished 2-3 with a walk, raising his season OPS to 1.019. He’s got a 167 wRC+ for the year, his highest mark at any level of MiLB so far, and appears to be more than ready to take the final step to the big leagues. I’m sure the Royals will keep running Carlos Santana and Ryan O’Hearn out there for now, but it’s beyond time for Vinnie in Kansas City.

Box Score:
– Clay Dungan: 1-4, BB
– Nick Pratto: 1-4, 2 K
– Emmanuel Rivera: 1-4, 2B
– Vinnie Pasquantino: 2-3, HR, BB, K
– Brewer Hicklen: 0-4, 3 K
– Jackson Kowar: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 4 ER
– Colten Brewer: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 R

AA Northwest Arkansas (10-12): L 5-12

I can’t figure Anthony Veneziano out. His command has never been his calling card or anything but this is ridiculous. He walked four more hitters last night and didn’t make it out of the second inning. I’m still a believer in the stuff we saw from him last summer, but he’s been so bad at commanding it this year that it’s impossible to see how it will play against AA hitters. The ball rolls on, I suppose.

Box Score:
– Maikel Garcia: 1-5, 2B, 2 K
– Nick Loftin: 0-4
– Michael Massey: 3-5, 2 K
– Seuly Matias: 2-3, 3B, 2B, BB, K
– Nate Eaton: 0-4, K
– Robbie Glendinning: 0-4
– John Rave: 1-4, K
– Anthony Veneziano: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 2 K, 5 ER

A+ Quad Cities (10-12): W 3-2

Quad Cities just can’t stop winning. They’ve won six of their last eight games and they’ve done it every way possible. Pitching, hitting, defense, base running…this team can literally do it all. Last night it was the pitching staff holding it down, as Noah Murdock held a really good Cedar Rapids team to just two runs in five innings before Christian Chamberlain and Yohanse Morel slammed the door shut.

Box Score:
– Tyler Tolbert: 0-3, BB, SB, K
– Peyton Wilson: 0-3, BB
– Tyler Gentry: 1-4, 2B, K
– Luca Tresh: 0-3, BB, 2 K
– Herard Gonzalez: 2-4
– Burle Dixon: 0-4, 2 K
– Kale Emshoff: 0-4, 2 K
– Noah Murdock: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 ER
– Christian Chamberlain: 2 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 R
– Yohanse Morel: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 R

A- Columbia (8-14): W 4-3

After being no-hit on Sunday, Columbia came out and scored four runs early last night and that proved to be plenty. Luinder Avila grinded through five innings of three-run ball, the bullpen didn’t allow a single hit in four innings, and Columbia is back in the win column.

Box Score:
– River Town: 0-3, 2 K
– Darryl Collins: 1-4
– Carter Jensen: 0-3, BB, K
– Wilmin Candelario: 2-3, 2B, SB, K
– Luinder Avila: 5 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 ER
– Marlin Willis: 3 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 R

Photo Credits: Ian Maule, Tulsa World

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