- Full name Kevin Michael Melillo
- Born 05/14/1982 in Orlando, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School South Carolina
- Debut 06/24/2007
Drafted in the 5th round (157th overall) by the Oakland Athletics in 2004 (signed for $160,000).
View Draft ReportSouth Carolina 2B Kevin Melillo, a former high school teammate of Brewers farmhand Rickie Weeks, out-homered Powell last season and could be an offensive second baseman down the road. He's battled a broken hamate this season and some scouts doubt his defensive tools, where he grades out no better than average.
Organization Prospect Rankings
After a breakout year offensively in 2005 and a year of defensive improvements in 2006, Melillo made the next step to becoming a more complete player last season. The A's moved him over to third base in Triple-A in August to deepen his versatility defensively, and he proved an adequate defender on the corner. He's not an everyday third baseman by any stretch--his range and footwork were graded as below-average by several scouts--but getting the experience could hasten his path as a lefthanded utility bat with some power. But he hasn't shown the same pop he had in 2005 for the last two seasons, and that's a concern. Melillo isn't going to take Mark Ellis' job anytime soon, but he provides a decent insurance policy for now as he continues to build his defensive resume. Big leaguer Donnie Murphy offers a similar package with less power but more defensively ability and versatility, limiting Melillo's big league chances for 2008. He'll be back in Triple-A to start the year.
Melillo broke out on his own with a huge 2005 season, smashing an organization-high 24 homers between three levels. In 2006 he focused on the other parts of his game, working diligently to become a better defender. He shocked many in the organization by leading the Texas League with a .990 fielding percentage while making just six errors in 134 games at second base. Always a confident player, Melillo translated that confidence to the defensive side after extensive work with Juan Navarette, the organization's infield rover. He still doesn't profile as an above-average defender at second due to his poor range, though. He turns double plays well enough with a strong arm, a tool that led the organization to give him time at third base in the Arizona Fall League. Melillo's power dipped significantly from his breakout 2005 season, and he's in danger of becoming a tweener. While he has power, he's not a masher, more Aaron Boone than Bret Boone. Without either Boone's defensive prowess, Melillo will have to combine his defensive chops of 2006 with his power of 2005 to supplant Mark Ellis as the A's future second baseman. He's ticketed for Triple-A in 2007.
The A's became excited about Melillo, a high school teammate of Rickie Weeks, when they were scouting 2004 first-round pick Landon Powell at South Carolina. Melillo helped the Gamecocks to three College World Series. As a pro he has provided the kind of power the injured Powell was supposed to deliver, leading the system with 24 homers in his first full season. Melillo has a quick, compact swing and surprising power, thanks to natural loft and a high finish. He has a nice feel for working the count and makes consistent hard contact. He's a good baserunner and can steal bases thanks to excellent reads and jumps. Melillo isn't very athletic and his defense continues to lag behind his bat despite his considerable effort at improving. His speed is average at best, his range is limited and his arm is below-average. While Melillo likely will begin 2006 in Double-A, Oakland doesn't expect him to finish the year there. If he keeps hitting, he could be in line for a big league look in 2007.
Melillo played with Brewers top prospect Rickie Weeks at Lake Brantley High (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) before playing in three College World Series in four years at South Carolina. The A's had their eye on Melillo for years while also scouting Gamecocks catcher Landon Powell, and they took Melillo four rounds after Powell last June, signing him for $200,000 in the fifth round. Melillo projects as an offensive second baseman. Hitting comes easy to him, as he owns a short, line-drive stroke, developing power and a solid understanding of the strike zone. He lacks defensive instincts but has soft hands. He never has put any priority on his glovework, but the A's feel he can become adequate at second base if he puts the time in. Melillo's makeup is strong. He worked in instructional league shadowing Mark Ellis to learn what it takes to be a second baseman at the major league level, while also working on specific exercises to improve his speed. The A's feel he can skip a level and begin the year in high Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Melillo got less attention coming out of South Carolina than teammate Landon Powell, whom the Athletics drafted four rounds ahead of Melillo in 2004. But he has shot through the system while Powell has been sidelined by injuries. Melillo opened the season in low Class A and earned two promotions, finishing the season with 24 homers and a .934 OPS. Melillo is a hard-nosed, aggressive player who should be an offensive second baseman. He has home run power and jumps on pitches that he can drive. He also has good speed and the instincts to steal a few bases. He'll He'll never be a standout defender and some scouts question whether he can remain at second base, though he does work hard. To continue hitting at higher levels, Melillo will have to manage his aggression at the plate and improve his pitch recognition, always a point of emphasis in the A's organization. He too often guesses at which pitch he'll see, and swings at the first pitch he likes. "He's learning at higher levels that 3-0 or 2-1 doesn't always mean fastball," Hayes said.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive 2B in the Texas League in 2006
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Oakland Athletics in 2006