Texas Rangers draft preview: M.J. Melendez.
The 2017 MLB draft is on June 12, 2017. The Texas Rangers have two first round picks this year — their own selection, and a compensatory pick for losing Ian Desmond -- and both are late in the first round, at #26 and #29.
In advance of the draft, I am going to offer capsule reports on some of the guys who the Rangers could take with their picks.
Today, we are looking at Florida high school catcher M.J. Melendez.
M.J. Melendez is a 6’1”, 175 lb. lefthanded hitting catcher from Westminster Christian high school in Florida. Melendez is the son of Florida International baseball coach Mervyl Melendez, Sr., and played high school ball in Alabama until transferring this year to be closer to his dad.
Melendez is considered a quality defender -- unlike many high school catchers who end up having to switch positions, Melendez is seen as someone who will stick behind the plate. As with many high school catchers, the question is whether he will hit enough, though there is praise for his bat speed. MLB Pipeline has Melendez at #72 on their top 200 prospect list, while Baseball America (who praises Melendez’s game-calling and being bilingual) has him ranked at #53. Keith Law has Melendez at #46 in his rankings.
None of the most recent mock drafts from Law, Mayo, Callis or BA have Melendez going in the first round. The Rangers have Jose Trevino, who they like, as a catching prospect in AA, and also signed sixteen year old catcher David Garcia last summer. However, the Rangers have historically prioritized catchers — especially those who have good leadership and game-calling skills -- and I could see the Rangers targeting Melendez, whether in the first round or in the second.