Washington Nationals: Ivan Melendez Is A Perfect Day 2 Target
A prolific college slugger with defensive issues, the Washington Nationals need to absolutely be in on Ivan Melendez come draft day.
For those unfamiliar with the college baseball scene, Texas’s Ivan Melendez was the best player this year, posting the best season in The University of Texas at Austin’s history and arguably the top season in college baseball history.
The “Hispanic Titanic” led all of D1 in homers (32) and RBIs (94) while posting a slash line that would impress even Barry Bonds (.387/.508/.863). Melendez helped lead Texas to the College World Series for the second straight year, where they once again fell short. Unsurprisingly he was named both the 2022 Golden Spikes Award winner (award for best player in college baseball) and the Baseball America Player of the Year.
Despite his gaudy numbers and racking up the accolades, Melendez is not a projected top 10 player in the upcoming draft. In fact, he isn’t even projected to go in the first round with draft analysts having him land anywhere in the second to the fourth round range.
"“Melendez still doesn’t offer much value beyond his bat and a righty-hitting first baseman is the least attractive profile for pro teams. He’s a well below-average runner with limited range and an average arm. He’s an adequate defender at first base and his only other alternative is DH.”"
There are also questions about if his bat speed will be able to match up against higher velocity as he climbs through the minors.
While Melendez’s profile as a power-hitting first basemen/DH who doesn’t offer much on the defensive side might scare off certain teams, the Nationals’ farm system is in dire need of talent. After struggling with swing and miss issues during the 2021 season, Melendez improved his eye at the plate this past season — walking more times (52) than he struck out (51).
A high-risk-high reward prospect, the Nats need to swing for the fences if they want to attempt to bolster their farm system and speed up their rebuild.