The 2023 season began off depressing for a lot of the Kansas Metropolis Royals offense. MJ Melendez, “Merv” for brief, as his teammates would name him, was entrance and heart throughout these offensive woes. He’s hitting simply .237 this season however that quantity has truly risen drastically because the season has gone on. From Opening Day by the tip of Might, Melendez slashed simply .205/.297/.362. His wRC+ in that span was 23% underneath league common, at 77 and he was hanging out greater than 31%.
For all of these causes and extra, it appears comprehensible how a lot of the fanbase grew disenchanted with the Royals’ outfielder. The season turned misplaced in a short time, the offense was among the many league’s worst, and Melendez was among the many very worst of the worst. In reality, the ire of followers continues even at the moment. Many followers I’ve spoken to or interacted with echo the same sentiment: “I’m performed with MJ. I’ve seen sufficient.” To that I ask a easy query — have you ever watched any baseball because the All-Star Break?
MJ Melendez has been the whole lot we would like and extra of late
As a lot as we’d prefer to, nothing is altering the previous. These tough months to open the 2023 marketing campaign are etched in stone and perpetually part of Melendez’s stat line. The struggles continued past Might and into June, then into July. By that point, even essentially the most optimistic of followers have been beginning to marvel if MJ wanted a reset in Triple-A Omaha. At the moment, I requested the Royals’ Main League hitting coach, Alec Zumwalt, what he noticed for his second-year outfielder with the second half approaching.
Few individuals know exterior of our gamers how arduous he has labored to get on monitor. He’s nevertheless heading in the right direction along with his work and I’m excited to maintain this going particularly now that we now have gotten by the break. Along with his arduous hit at 51%, the features he must make are within the margins.
That sentiment confirmed up on the sector, as we noticed a noticeable shift in his fingers on the plate in addition to his total outcomes.
Melendez has made a change in hand positioning over the ASB.
On the left in earlier this yr @ Angels.
On the proper was yesterday the place he homered and doubled. pic.twitter.com/AObW1quppG
— Cole Ragans Cy Younger (@SadRoyalsfan_) July 17, 2023
Simply how nicely has it proven within the outcomes? For the reason that All-Star Break, Melendez has slashed a formidable .290/.346/.511. In these 48 video games, he’s hit eight dwelling runs thanks partly to a .222 ISO. The strikeout fee, as soon as over 30%, is right down to 26.7%. In that span, his OPS of .857 ranks forty sixth in baseball — simply forward of Juan Soto at .856. Merv is considered one of eight Royals hitters with no less than 100 PA within the second half. His 126 wRC+ is second on the crew to Bobby Witt Jr.
A lot hype has surrounded Bobby Witt Jr. this season, deservedly so. He’s grow to be a celebrity earlier than our eyes and is turning into the whole lot we’d hoped for after he hit the bottom operating within the minor leagues. Maybe a few of that focus on Bobby has induced Melendez to go underneath the radar within the second half. He hasn’t been almost pretty much as good and the e book continues to be out on simply how good he could be within the Main Leagues, however to this point within the second half, MJ Melendez has blossomed into the participant all of us hoped he would grow to be. And he’s solely getting higher.
Assorted Main Leaguers since August fifth
|Bobby Witt Jr.||0.857||125|
In his final 30 video games, his triple slash is .311/.371/.566. His .255 ISO in that span ranks twenty eighth in all of baseball, simply forward of Ronald Acuña Jr. His 149 wRC+ is tied with Corbin Carroll for thirty fourth within the league. If we dare to make the pattern even smaller and have a look at simply this month of September, it turns into downright ridiculous. To this point in September, Melendez has a 202 wRC+, good for the highest 50 in baseball. His OPS this month is 1.148 and hastily, he’s strolling greater than 22% of the time and hanging out simply 18.2%.
We now have almost a 3rd of the season through which Melendez has been among the many finest 50 hitters in baseball and of late, he’s been among the many high 10. I wouldn’t place my bets on Melendez turning into a future MVP fairly but, however I’m actually beginning to put some inventory into these outcomes and believing in a few of them and it’s best to too. The Royals are nearly actually trying previous the tough begin to the season and placing numerous inventory into what MJ Melendez has grow to be because the season progressed. That’s precisely what you’d prefer to see in an analysis yr, and followers ought to take discover as nicely — Melendez seems to be like he’s right here to remain.