With the 2016 Minnesota Twins in need of some left-handed heat, Mason Melotakis may soon get the call.
The Minnesota Twins are in need of some left-handed relief, and Mason Melotakis is one name the team will likely rely on in 2016. After missing all of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery, Melotakis faces the most important year of his baseball career. A strong Spring Training performance may be his ticket to the big league club, but a freshly recovered arm could prove inconsistent or injury prone going into the regular season.
Name: Mason Melotakis
Position: RP Age: 24
Height: 6’2’’ Weight: 205
Throws: L Bats: R
The left-hander signed with the Twins in June of 2012 as the second round pick of the MLB June Amateur Draft. Two years after this signing, his development took an unfortunate turn when he suffered a substantial elbow injury that ultimately led Melotakis to a Tommy John surgery.
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This offseason many believed that the Twins would look to sign a ‘big-name’ left-handed reliever. Now that Spring Training is about to begin, it is clear that the Twins preferred to look at alternative measures to address their relief needs.
Fellow left-handed relief pitchers Fernando Abad, Taylor Rogers, and Ryan O’Rourke are better suited to make the opening day roster. Yet, with Mason Melotakis facing his first full season after Tommy John, he could soon find a place with the big league club.
From 2012 to 2014, Melotakis posted a 3.00 ERA over 198 innings pitched. That number does not tell the full story. The Twins initially considered using Melotakis as a development piece for a future rotation, and as such was asked to pitch twenty starts over his minor league career.
Melotakis posted a 3.00 ERA over 198 innings pitched. That number does not tell the full story.
In 2014, when the team began to focus on his role as a reliever, the left-hander’s injury woes began. As such, Melotakis is difficult to evaluate based on his numbers. Sure, in 2014 he may have held lefties to just 15 hits in 88 plate appearances, but such small sample sizes should not serve as the basis for any confident prediction.
Yet the Twins are seemingly believers in Melotakis, adding him to the 40-man roster in November of 2015. This is due to both his ability to hit 97 mph with his fastball and an above average power curve-ball. A pitcher that can regularly throw with that velocity is worth developing, especially when that heat is coming from the left side of the mound. Given Minnesota’s apparent need to add more left-handed arms to the rotation, the team should be eager to learn how the lefty has recovered from his career-stalling surgery.
Cracking the opening day roster is not out of the question, he would have to out-pitch some of the other options for the bullpen. It would be better for Melotakis to take some time in the minors to continue developing his arm strength and command. Melotakis hasn’t faced live hitting since October of 2014, so an impressive Spring Training showing may still not warrant a big league call-up. If his arm proves durable, it is only a matter of time before he begins contributing to the team as a late inning option.