Yahil Melendez – Picture via his Instagram
When this post began, Greg Huss was looking over my shoulder in the press box in Davenport as I was checking out a Perfect Game website on Yahil Melendez. It’s amazing what you can find about players instantly over the past couple years thanks in part to showcases putting data online for all to see. Whether it’s exit velocity or batted ball, there’s a lot of video of Yahil working out as well as scouting reports. High school picks have a track record just like anybody else.
Age – 17
Height – 6-foot-3
Bats – Left
Throws – Right
From Gurabo, Puerto Rico
7th Round Pick in the 2023 MLB Draft
Melendez wasn’t drafted in a vacuum. He was a well thought of player in Puerto Rico. He was committed to Rice University in Houston and he was ranked as the second best shortstop and sixth best prospect on the island for this year‘s draft class. Still, the Cubs expected him to be like a third or fourth round guy. When he was on the board in the seventh, the Cubs could not resist any longer.
Melendez’s number one trait is his athleticism. While he is 6-foot-3, there’s not much muscle there and it’ll take a while to build it up. It’s not going to be put on in one off-season or one year. It’ll take a few. But he’s already got the basic movements down that he needs for the position. The Cubs are probably going to do is let him play SS while he fills out.
Once Melendez signs this year, he will go to Mesa where he’ll probably spend the rest of this year, and he will begin to get acclimated to the pro lifestyle and living in the United States. Where he goes next year will be based upon how he does in the off-season. What kind of weight he gains is going to determine a lot. More than likely, he’s going to begin 2024 in extended spring training and then go from there.
Most of what we seen in video of him has been of a slap hitter. The Cubs think with his size that he could drive the ball once he gains more strength. At 6-foot-3, there’s a lot someone that size could do to a baseball.
Melendez also has a really good arm and people project that he’s going to stay at short, but, honestly, his arm could play anywhere..
Let’s take a look at what Dan Kantrowitz told the Marquee Sports Network about Melendez:
“Ended up being somebody that I think we probably had five or six different scouts seeing this spring which is a lot when you’re talking about a player from Puerto Rico,” Kantrovitz said. “We just felt really comfortable with his profile somebody that should be able to stay in the middle of the diamond. A young player that we’re fortunate to select and hopefully come to terms with here shortly.”
Melendez agreed to an above-slot deal. I’m a fan of this type of pick – a young shortstop from Puerto Rico who has limited exposure, but enough tools to believe in. This pick is akin to an international signing. Still, there is plenty of time to develop a 17-year-old.
Draft Pick Profiles
|4||113||SP||Will Sanders||South Carolina|
|7||206||SS||Yahil Melendez||B You Academy (PR)|
|9||266||1B||Jonathon Long||Long Beach State|
|10||296||SP||Luis Martinez-Gomez||Temple College|
|11||326||OF||Zyhir Hope||Colonial Forge HS|
|12||356||2B/OF||Carter Trice||NC State|
|13||386||SP||Sam Armstrong||Old Dominion|
|15||446||SP||Ty Johnson||Ball State|