MLB Draft Profile: Jacob Meltonby John Lepore July 10, 2022 1 comment
Oregon State has seen its fair share of first-round picks including recent number one overall pick Adley Rutschman. Jacob Melton won’t be in that particular discussion, but the first round is not out of the question for the athletic outfielder. Let’s look at one of the most underrated talents in this year’s draft.
Jacob Melton, Outfielder, Oregon State
Weight: 205 lbs.
2021 Stats: 32 G, .404/.466/.697, 6 HR, 8 SB, 19 R, 25 RBI
2022 Stats: 63 G, .360/.424/.671, 17 HR, 21 SB, 66 R, 83 RBI
Melton seems to have flown under the radar somehow. He is a well-rounded athlete from a big school. You can see from the stats above that the kid can hit. He was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2022. The interesting thing about Melton is that while he is number 39 on MLB.com’s top prospect list, Fangraphs.com and Prospectslive.com do not have him listed at all.
Melton’s left-handed swing generates solid contact, and there is not a ton of swing and miss in his game, striking out just 17.2 percent of the time last season. The power is there, and it should manifest itself in 20-25 homers a year. Melton has an easy swing with quick wrists allowing him to flick a ball the other way or turn something inside even when he is fooled.
Defensively, he should stick in centerfield. Most of his experience in the middle has come this year, but Melton has taken to it. If he needs to move to a corner spot, his arm is above average and will play in right field. His speed may be his best attribute. At 6-foot-3, Melton can move with long strides that help him on the bases and in chasing down balls in the gaps.
There isn’t much to pick on when it comes to Melton’s game. He may tend to get pull happy when trying to sell out for power. It causes his swing to get long and leaves him susceptible to inside heat. His speed is an asset now, but he will slow down as he ages and puts on more weight, but that can be said for most prospects who play in the middle of the diamond.
Pro Comparison: Mike Trout
Ok. I know what you’re thinking. Johnnie, you can’t possibly be comparing this kid to the best player of our generation. Well, yeah, I am and mainly for the reason that he is being underrated. Trout was taken 25th overall in 2009 being passed up for fellow centerfielders, Dustin Ackley, Donavan Tate, and Jared Mitchell. Melton could very well face the same fate as he is as talented as anyone in the draft yet will be underrated and likely fall to the late first or second round. Whoever passes on the former Beaver will be making a mistake.
Draft Projection: Los Angeles Dodgers, Round 2, Pick 40
Melton should be a top 10 pick in my opinion, but that isn’t one shared by many, so it seems. If he does fall, the Dodgers will be a perfect spot for him as they don’t really have much in the pipeline when it comes to outfielders other than Andy Pages. They also don’t know if Cody Bellinger can be fixed. Putting Melton in the outfield with Mookie Betts in a few years will render whoever plays left field an afterthought.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images