KoK Prospect #6: Tim Melville

It’s been 23 days since I profiled prospect #7 on the KoK prospect list.  That means that this is going much more slowly than I ever anticipated and if I keep this up we won’t get to #1 until after the All-Star break.  I know I’ve said this at least once before, but I hope to get the rest of this list finished up soon.  Before I get sidetracked again for another month lets get to it.

Tim Melville checks in at #6 on the 2010 Kings of Kauffman prospect list.

Who: Timothy Macgill Melville
DOB: 10/9/1989 Wentzville, Missouri
Position: RHP
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 210
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Acquired: 2008 Draft (4th Round)

Rankings:
~ Baseball America #6
~ Diamond Futures #7
~ Royals Review #7
~ The Royal Tower #5
~ John Sickels B
~ Baseball Prospectus #5
~ Scouting Book #9

Stats:

IP ERA WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 Burlington (A) 97.1 3.79 1.36 8.2 4.0 8.9 2.2

As bad as things are, and as bad as the Royals have been over the last 15-years, the 2008 draft could finally be the one that turns the fortunes of the organization.  Dayton and his staff tabbed Eric Hosmer in the 1st round and followed it up by grabbing Mike Montgomery in the supplemental round.  Those two get most of the notice but in rounds 2 through 5, the Royals drafted 2B-Johnny Giavotella, RHP-Tyler Sample, RHP-Tim Melville, and LHP-John Lamb.  All four are legitimate prospects in their own right despite the fact that they get overshadowed by the blazing bright stars of Montgomery and, thanks to a resurgance this year, Hosmer.

In most other draft classes, Melville would be one of, if not the key, big-name prospect.  He was the top prep pitching prospect going into the 2008 season but failed to live up to the hype.  He was also rumored to be looking for top shelf money to sign once drafted and was committed to North Carolina.  All these factors worked in the Royals favor.  With teams scared off, he lasted until the 4th round and wound up signing for $1.25 million.  The money was well above slot, but based on the pre-draft expectations, he gave Kansas City a nice “local product” town discount.  The Royals also get extra credit in this area for the solid relationships the organization had built with Melville and his family over the years leading up to the draft.

He signed late in 2008 and didn’t make his professional debut until May of last year but that didn’t stop him from making his 2009 season a resounding success.  Yes, I said resounding success.  I’ll admit the numbers, while good, don’t jump off the page and the BB/9 is a little high to indicate a star in the making.  However, context is always important, especially when talking about the minor leagues.  The average age of low-A pitchers during the 2009 season was 21.7.  Tim Melville did what he did last season at 19 years old coming off a season in high school which was a disappointment.  While most everyone else calls his 2009 performance solid or good, based on the context, I consider his 2009 a resounding success.

No matter how you define what he did in 2009, Tim Melville has all the tools and raw stuff at his disposal to have a very successful career in the major leagues.  At 6’5″ and 210 lbs he has the size and frame to be durable and he has a clean throwing motion which should help him stay healthy.  As his body matures he figures to add some additional muscle to his frame which will help him with his consistency and ability to maintain his velocity late into games.  When his mechanics are right, Melville’s fastball typically sits around 92-93 and hits 95 with excellent movement.  He also has a 12-to-6 curveball in his arsenal that is already a plus offering.  Like most young pitchers his changeup is a work in progress, but he shows a good feel for the pitch and it should be at least major league average.  His stuff alone marks him as a potential number 2 or 3 starter.

Like most young pitching prospects, inconsistent mechanics, a lack of command, and a lack of professional experience stand in the way of Melville realizing his potential.  The experience will take care of itself as long as he can stay healthy and log innings.  The mechanics and command should improve as the innings pile up.  How far and how quickly things progress is, at least in part, in the hands of the Royals development staff.

The beginning of the 2010 season has not been overly kind to Melville.  In his first 6 starts with the Wilmington Blue Rocks he has been hit hard in all but one of them.  That one start was his second of the season when he threw a 1-hit shutout with 1 walk and 8 strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work.  Outside of that gem, his other 5 starts have resulted in the following line:  17.1 IP, 26 ER, 16 BB, and 13 SO.  Put all 6 starts together and Melville has a 10.48 ERA, 2.19 WHIP, 12.9 H/9, 6.9 BB/9, and 8.5 SO/9 in 22.1 innings of work.  The bad news?  Remember how I spent most of last season saying how we shouldn’t worry about Moustakas because he was hitting in an extreme pitchers park in a pitchers league?  Well, that sword cuts both ways.  Pitching prospects should, in theory, thrive in their time at Wilmington and so far that has not been the case for Tim.  But …

The good news is that he is still 3 years younger than the average pitcher in High-A and he has plenty of time to put it all together.  I don’t have the greatest memory but I am pretty sure I was an inconsistent mess at 20-years of age and on top of that I wasn’t trying to pitch professionally.  He showed a great deal of adaptability and showed significant improvement over the course of the 2009 season.  Because of that as well as his youth and stuff, I have complete confidence that Melville will find success in Wilmington and remain one of the organizations top pitching prospects heading into 2011.

To send you on your way, here’s a video of Melville from this spring:

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Kansas City Royals KC MLB Royals Tim Melville

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