Royals minor league hitters are destroying their respective leagues, but it’s not Bobby Witt, Jr. or Nick Pratto that lead the minors in home runs. That honor now belongs to catcher MJ Melendez, who smacked three more home runs for Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Wednesday to tie Marlins prospect Griffin Conine (son of former Royals slugger Jeff Conine), who hit two of his own last night in what is turning into a thrilling home run chase.
Melendez began his damage in game one of a doubleheader against the rival Arkansas Travelers. In the fourth inning against Adam Hill, Melendez laced one over the right field fence.
The very next inning he did it again! No, this is not a repeat!
Then in the first inning of game two, he made it a three-dong night. with a shot against Steven Moyers.
Melendez is now hitting a silly .294/.380/.650 in 76 games for the Naturals, and he’s doing this all age 22. He is clearly ready for Triple-A, but there is a bit of a log jam on the Omaha roster with catchers Sebastian Rivero, Meibrys Viloria, Nick Dini, and Nate Esposito all on the roster. Despite that, the Royals are going to need to make room for him soon.
Melendez had an awful 2019 season, hitting just .163/.260/.311 in 110 games for High-A Wilmington. But give credit to the revamped minor league hitting development program, as detailed by Alec Lewis in The Athletic this week. Melendez has put himself back on the prospect radar, earning a ranking as the #100 prospect in baseball by Baseball America.