MJ Melendez

C / Kansas City Royals / EXP: YRS / MINORS Height: Weight: lb Age: College: None Bats/Throws -/-

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  • The Royals promoted Melendez from Double-A Northwest Arkansas to Triple-A Omaha on Monday. Like most catching prospects, Melendez has been brought along slowly through the farm system while he hones his receiving and game-calling skills, but there's been no doubt that he's been ready for a stiffer test as a hitter for quite some time. The 22-year-old backstop has led all Double-A hitters in home runs (28), slugging percentage (.628) and OPS (.999) this season, all while keeping his strikeout rate in check (21.9 percent) and walking at a high clip (12.6 percent). Melendez remains blocked by Salvador Perez at the big-league level, but he could emerge as a No. 2 catcher and potential everyday designated hitter for the Royals as soon as 2022 if he continues to rake at Triple-A.

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  • Melendez went 3-for-6 with a home run, a walk, two RBI and two additional runs Sunday in Double-A Northwest Arkansas' doubleheader with Arkansas. Though he's been overshadowed at Double-A for most of the season by top prospect Bobby Witt -- who was promoted to Triple-A Omaha on Sunday -- Melendez's accomplishments shouldn't be discounted. Melendez's round tripper in the second game of the twin bill was his 19th of the season, tops among all Double-A players. The 22-year-old Melendez is the Royals' top catching prospect in the minors, but his path to a regular role in the big leagues may be blocked by the presence of seven-time All-Star Salvador Perez, who inked a four-year, $82 million extension this spring.

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  • Melendez was sent to minor-league camp on Tuesday. Melendez got to spend a few weeks with the big-league coaching staff but was never a candidate for the Opening Day roster as he's yet to reach High-A. He'll likely spend the bulk of the year there this season and is still a few years away from making an impact at the major-league level.

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  • Melendez was invited to the Royals' major-league spring training Tuesday. Melendez is just 20 years old and has never played above Low-A, so there's effectively zero chance that he debuts this season. Still, the invitation signals good things about how the Royals feel about his future, and he'll get valuable time learning from the big-league coaching staff and working with pitchers he may one day catch in the majors.

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  • Melendez went 3-for-6 with a home run, two doubles and a career-best six RBI for Low-A Lexington in its 18-2 win over Rome on Monday. The 19-year-old catcher has gone on a major tear at the dish over the past week, going 13-for-30 with nine extra-base hits -- including five home runs -- in seven contests. The recent surge has lifted his season slugging percentage to .627, which ranks second in the Southern League. While Melendez's plus power and solid defense behind the plate make him one of the better prospects in the Royals organization, he'll need to improve upon his 30.2 percent strikeout rate once he reaches the higher levels of the minors in order to accelerate his arrival to the big leagues.

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