Detroit Tigers: Free agent LHP Mason Melotakis is a must-sign
By Andy Patton
The Detroit Tigers desperately need bullpen reinforcements, and a great fit just emerged in left-hander Mason Melotakis, who was released by the Twins.
On paper, the Detroit Tigers don’t need another left-hander. Matthew Boyd and Francisco Liriano are two of Detroit’s best starters, and Daniel Stumpf and Blaine Hardy are solid left-handed bullpen pieces. Factor in Daniel Norris, Chad Bell and Ryan Carpenter, and you have a team that seems set on southpaws.
However, the bullpen as a whole is in bad shape. And rebuilding teams should always, always be looking to get better. And a potential way to improve, with little risk associated, just became available. The Minnesota Twins just released their 2012 second round pick, left-hander Mason Melotakis.
Who is Mason Melotakis?
Melotakis is a former highly regarded prospect who has succeeded at every stop in the minor leagues. He was a reliever in college, but the Twins attempted to turn him into a starter early on in the minors. His fastball gets up to 97(!) miles per hour, but only in short outings. The Twins eventually corrected their error and shifted him back to the bullpen. Since then, he has thrived.
He posted a 2.97 ERA and a 11.3 K/9 at Double-A in 2016, followed by 11 innings in the Fall league with two earned runs and an 11/1 K/BB ratio.
After a 2.42 ERA and a 10.7 K/9 at Double-A in 2017, Melotakis was promoted to Triple-A. He struggled a bit with his command, walking 12 in 24.1 innings with a 4.07 ERA. Melotakis was pitching better at Triple-A this year however, with a 3.07 ERA and a 14/5 K/BB ratio in 14 2/3 innings.
Why is he available?
This is normally the part where I drop the caveat. The notorious control issues, or serious injury concern (he did have TJ a few years back) or character issues. After all, why would the Twins give up on a perfectly solid left-handed reliever who has pitched well at every level and has a 97 mile per hour fastball?
Well, you’ll have to ask them. Because I have no idea.
Melotakis was not taking up a spot on the 40-man, and the Twins’ left-handed relievers have struggled mightily this year. It seems like Melotakis was destined to get his crack at the show this season – instead he was cut with no corresponding roster move.
Obviously it’s possible we don’t know the whole story, but unless there is some major character flaw or undiagnosed injury, it seems like a no-brainer that the Detroit Tigers scoop this guy up. They can shove him into the bullpen at Toledo and see how he does. If he performs well, the Tigers have an open spot on their 40-man he could occupy. If he doesn’t do well, no harm done. Just cut him like the Twins did.
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The Detroit Tigers need to jump on Melotakis. A left-hander who hits 97 miles per hour doesn’t come around all that often, especially not for free. For a rebuilding club, taking chances on guys like Melotakis is critical while they attempt to crawl back into contention.