The 2012 amateur draft is just about two weeks away, so between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Mason Melotakis | LHP
A Texas kid who wound up playing for Northwestern State in Louisiana, Melotakis has settled in as the Blue Demons’ relief ace over the last three years. His prospect stock really took off when he shined with the Bourn Braves of the Cape Cod League last summer, striking out 22 and walking just two in 18.2 IP across 14 appearances.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 205 lbs., Melotakis went undrafted out of high school because he was undersized and could barely crack 90 mph. He’s since gone through a growth spurt and has developed into a legitimate power arm from the left side, sitting 94-96 mph in relief. His power slider is a true put-way pitch. Melotakis doesn’t have a third offering and there is some effort in his delivery, which is why he’s shown the propensity to wear down after a few innings when working as a starter. He’s a true relief prospect with two strong pitches, exactly the kind of guy who could zoom up the ladder and contribute to the big league team sooner rather than later.
Keith Law and Baseball America recently ranked Melotakis as the 63rd and 88th best prospect in the draft, respectively. The Yankees have a pair of second round picks (#89 and #94 overall) and he’d fit best there, not as their first rounder (#30 overall). I’ve never been a fan of drafting relievers in the first round, feels like a waste. Anyway, the Yankees have done a splendid job of turning late-round picks into a valuable relief arms under Damon Oppenheimer, so drafting one relatively high seems to go against the grain. In fact, they’ve only drafted three pure relievers in the top five rounds since Oppenheimer took over in 2005: J.B. Cox in 2005, Scott Bittle in 2008, and Tommy Kahnle in 2010. Melotakis would be an atypical pick for New York but not a bad one after the first round.