Taken by the Yankees in the ninth round of the 2006 draft, Mark Melancon has posted impressive numbers in the minor leagues, even after undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2006. While most pitchers struggle for up to two years after elbow surgery, the former Arizona Wildcat has gone on to record a 2.49 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 148 minor league innings. Boasting a plus-fastball and arguably the best curveball in the system, Melancon has the tools and the makeup to be a tremendous pitcher for the Yankees.
The highly-touted reliever finally made his first major league appearance in 2009, throwing two scoreless innings against the Boston Red Sox in late April. The 24 year-old righty was kept on a short leash and after encountering abnormal control issues, Melancon was sent back to Triple-A Scranton. He periodically made appearances in the majors during the 2009 season, ending the year with a 3.86 ERA and an uncharacteristically low strikeout-to-walk-ratio in 16 innings.
2010: Melancon has a great chance to make the major league roster out of spring training this year, but he’ll need to earn the trust of Joe Girardi before getting a serious consideration. While Melancon’s big league numbers were not terrible, he suffered from serious control issues last season. His struggles could have been mechanical, but he will still need to prove that he can handle big league hitters before landing a spot in the pen. Often praised for his work ethic and makeup, Melancon will likely bounce back and exceed expectations in 2010.