Two under the radar toolsy OF’s Randy Ventura and Manuel Melendez

Randy Ventura, photo courtesy of Jeff Morris (Twitter @AtlBravesJeff)

Hey guys, the Sally is pretty deep in talent this season particularly in the outfield.  With heavyweights Mickey Moniak, Blake Rutherford, Juan Soto, Christian Pache and Leody Taveras and a deep 2nd tier too.  I wanted to talk today about two players who are firmly in that 2nd tier.  Randy Ventura, RF, Rome Braves and Manuel Melendez, CF, Asheville Tourists (Rockies).  Two players that are under the radar but have plenty of loud tools on display.

 

Randy Ventura, photo courtesy of Jeff Morris (Twitter @AtlBravesJeff)

Randy Ventura- Age 19, listed 5’9″ 165 lbs, bats both and throws right.  He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014.

5’9″ looks a little generous, I guessed on the field he was 5’7″ 160 lbs, he’s short but not small he looks pretty well put together. There is some projection left but not a whole lot.

Ventura has a similar set up from both sides, he hits from closed stance with a slight crouch.  His hands stay fairly active pre pitch.  His swing is long,  but he really whips the bat head through the zone.  And despite the bat length  he shows very good hand eye coordination.  The swing is linear and from both sides the bulk of the contact is up the middle and the other way.   The approach is aggressive, though I did notice a couple of times now, when it’s close and late he’s more apt to take some pitches.  With the bat speed and hand eye ability the hit could play as high as plus.  Though as he climbs the ladder more and more pitchers will come right after him because of the lack of game power.  And the bat length may prove to be a liability,  we’ll see.

I have yet to see Ventura in BP and it’s difficult to get a read on the raw power in game because he so frequently hits the ball on the ground and/or to the opposite field.  But the game power right now is gap variety and I suspect with current approach at peak he would hit 4-8 HR’s.  But perhaps reach the mid teens if he found some lift and began turning on inside fastballs.

If he gets on 1st base it’s an absolute nightmare for pitchers and catchers.   He’s a 70 runner and those short legs are quick out of the shoot and can really motor.

Its difficult to say for certain without seeing him out there but I’m pretty convinced Ventura can be an above average defensive CF.   He’s the everyday RF right now because he’s Christian Pache’s teammate.  But he does cover a ton of ground in right and shows a very good 1st step.  It’s not a RF’s arm, it’s average.  It would play fine in CF though.

Conclusion:  I have a blast watching Ventura play, he’s fun.   The Braves could be getting a player that hits 280+ with 5 HR and 35+ SB.  I think he could be a 2nd division regular in CF or perhaps more.  4th/5th OF is a possibility too.  I’d like the chances of him sticking as a utility player better  if he shows an aptitude for 2B.  Than he could be a Brock Holt type (Super Utility).

 

 

Manuel Melendez, photo courtesy of http://www.milb.com/images/650513/t573/180×270/650513.jpg

Manuel Melendez- Age 20, listed 5’11” 165 lbs, bats and throws left.  He was signed out of Venezuela in 2013.

Melendez is on the thin side I guessed on the field he was 5’10” 170 lbs, there is some projection left maybe add another 5-10 lbs but I suspect he’s destined to remain thin.

At the dish Melendez hits from a slight crouch and a semi open stance, his approach is pretty aggressive.  The swing is short, fast and linear.  The bulk of the contact is sharp grounders and low line drives between the gaps.  He displays good  barrel control and should maintain a solid contact rates as he climbs the ladder.   With the combination of bat speed, barrel control and some further refinement with pitch recognition the hit could play as high as plus though he’ll need to tone down some of the aggressiveness to get there.

With the bat speed he generates the ball does jump off of his barrel,  the raw power is 45 right now and may reach above average at peak.  The game power is of the gap variety right now, and with current approach likely tops out in the 8-12 range.  If he finds some lift and starts consistently turning on inside fastballs the HR’s could get into the 16-20 range.

Melendez has plus speed and is a very good defensive CF.

Melendez is solid across the board The Rockies may have a player that hits 280, with 10 HR and 25 SB and plays above average defensive CF.  Maybe a 2nd division starter or 4th-5th OF.  Perhaps more, regardless he’s a nice find by the Rockies.

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