Royals fans will be more than pleased if MJ Melendez rediscovers his bat
MJ Melendez has become a Kansas City mainstay during the two seasons he's been a big leaguer, and will probably be in the middle of manager Matt Quatraro's Opening Day lineup. But the roster security he presently enjoys doesn't mean his short career hasn't been disappointing.
Hope and expectations were high for Melendez when, after slashing .288/.386/.625, pacing all of the minor leagues with 41 homers, and driving in 103 runs in 2021, he broke into the majors with the Royals the following season. Yes, he homered 18 times that year, but hit only .217 and looked awkward and frequently ineffective as he transitioned from catching to the outfield. He raised his average to .235 last season, but his home run production dropped a bit to 16, and his defensive troubles continued in the outfield corners.
Put simply, Melendez hasn't been the player many thought he'd be. That could change, though, if he somehow rediscovers the offensive form he displayed in 2021. There are signs he might — he hit .273 with a .352 OBP, 10 homers, and 25 RBI in 64 post-All-Star Break games last season.
Royals fans will be overjoyed if Melendez continues along that path.