The Arizona Diamondbacks announced their list of non-roster invitees to Spring Training earlier this week. There are 26 in total. None of them are on the team’s 40-man roster. However, there are some that should be very interesting to watch. Some are top prospects that will be fun to watch. Others may have a chance to earn not just a 40-man roster spot but also an Opening Day roster spot.
Ivan Melendez was the Diamondbacks’ 2022 second-round pick. Although he is heading into his age-24 season and didn’t do badly at Double-A, Melendez does not have a very good chance of making the Opening Day roster. But it’s not out of the question that the D-Backs will call up Melendez later in the year. Plus, he should be fun to watch during Spring.
Melendez stepped to the plate 426 times for Hillsboro and Amarillo, batting .272/.345/.578 with a .400 wOBA and 139 wRC+. Melendez earned his nickname “The Hispanic Titanic” for the prodigious power he showed off throughout college, and that carried over into last season. Melendez went yard 30 times with a .306 isolated slugging percentage. He was one of just two other minor league hitters with 400+ plate appearances and an ISO over .300.
Melendez can potentially be a 30+ home run hitter in the big leagues. He’s able to generate a ton of pop from his 6’3”, 225-pound frame. However, this power comes with some downside. That downside is his plate discipline. Melendez struck out in over a third of his plate appearances with a 34.3% K% while having an unimpressive 7.8% walk rate. He had the lowest BB:K ratio at just 0.21 among minor league hitters with 400+ PAs.
Melendez split his time in the field between third base and first base. Although his arm is strong enough to make the throw from third effectively, he has a lack of range that will likely force him over to first base in the long term. His reaction time may also play better over at first base than at third.
Melendez may not be a perfect prospect, but he’s definitely fun to watch. I would be looking forward to watching him launch some tanks in Spring Training this season. It’s very possible we see Melendez in the bigs in the first half of the year. He could serve as a 3B/1B/DH and platoon with Joc Pederson if necessary.