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2 months agoKansas City Royals catcher/outfielder MJ Melendez was called up to the majors on May 1st and posted a solid stat line in his rookie season. The 24-year-old slashed .217/.313/.393 with 18 home runs, 67 RBI, 57 runs, and two stolen bases across 534 plate appearances in his rookie campaign. Salvador Perez is Kansas City's primary catcher, but Melendez should see playing time in the outfield and log some at-bats at designated hitter. He has legit power and was the 2021 minor-league home run leader, smashing 41 homers over 123 games between Double-A and Triple-A. His power transferred over to the majors as his average exit velocity was in the 81 percentile, while his hard-hit percentage was in the 69 percentile. Melendez gets a passing grade on offense, but his defense behind the plate could cost him playing time at catcher as his framing is the one percentile. The former second-round pick is expected to log 500-plus at-bats between catcher, outfield, and designated hitter. Melendez is Rotoballer's seventh-ranked catcher, and ATC projections are on board with this assessment. ATC projects Melendez to slash .231/.320/.430 with 22 home runs, 65 RBI, 66 runs, and four stolen bases over 551 plate appearances in 2023. Melendez should pop 20-plus homers with dual position legibility between catcher and outfield, making him a solid pick at his NFBC ADP of 96.--Brad Camara - RotoBaller

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