Detroit Tigers top 30 Prospects for 2023: #19 Troy Melton
Detroit Tigers Top 30 prospects for 2023: No.19 - Troy Melton
As the Motor City Bengals staff continues its countdown of the Detroit Tigers Top 30 prospects heading into 2023, we've crossed beyond the 20th name, starting to get inside the Top 20. With Josh Crouch being at 20-even and an installment for players 30-26 and 25-21, we continue with number 19.
Right-handed pitcher Troy Melton ranks as the 19th-best prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization going into this Spring. The organization drafted the 22-year-old in the fourth round of the 2022 MLB Draft.
After throwing 65.1 innings with the San Diego State Aztecs program, he was limited to just five innings with any of the Tigers affiliates, playing things safe. Melton pitched to a 2.07 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP while with the SDSU program. He walked 15 while striking out 67 opposing hitters at the NCAA level across 11 starts.
With the Tigers, he pitched all of five innings over two outings, giving up three hits while not allowing a run. He did not issue a walk and punched out five over his minimal performance with the Single-A Lakeland Flying Tigers.
Beyond the numbers & box scores, let's dive into some of his makeup on the mound. He's got a side step with a placement step to get his foot set on the mound before working into a leg lift up above the belt and around the letters. He uses some length in the frame to get extended down the mound. There's some whip to the arm that works from a longer arm action through the back with a high-three-quarters arm slot.
The lower half moves really well, and the hip-shoulder separation is solid, with a good job getting that lead leg down the mound and keeping the entire front side in sync. He's athletic down the mound, and it helps him create some plane on his fastball.
For more on Melton, we turn to Isaiah Burrows, a National Scouting Coordinator & colleague of mine with Perfect Game USA, who got to see Melton with SDSU in 2022 before the draft. Here's a tweet from the outing that Burrows was at to see Melton carve against the Nebraska Cornhuskers lineup.
Burrows said that Melton has a professional look to him on the mound and has that physicality that you look for in a pro arm with a starter build. He's 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds; with one look at the video, you can see that he fits the build of a starter.
In the outing tweeted above, Burrows noted that he was working 92-94 mph on his fastball and up to 97 mph with a couple at 96 mph. It shows that there's some heat in the tank for him to reach back and grab upper-90s as needed. The pitch has good plane and some arm-side life to it, as seen in the clip.
The clip also shows his breaker, which is clearly showing slider-like shape. It can be a bit slurvy at times, according to Burrows, and it shows the makings of a sweeper. He throws it in the mid-80s and spins it up above 2,500 RPMs. He pairs that with the changeup that is a fringy third pitch. It was also shown in the clip with some evident arm-side fade.
Burrows indicated that the Tigers getting him in the fourth round was a good vote of confidence in Melton and the strides that he had made in 2022. He's got that bat missing stuff, and its easily seen in the clip; the question is if he can really improve the slider to get more consistent break out of it and keep the changeup consistent.
Melton's got the makings of a big-league starter; if he can improve his pitch mix and command better, he has a chance. Projection-wise, Melton has the makings of a back-end starter; there's just work to be done to get there. He's slated as no.19 on the Motor City Bengals list since there are other arms which are more likely to impact the big league rotation at a higher clip and quicker.
In a more realistic world, Melton's likely going to end up in the bullpen as a long reliever if he makes it to the big leagues or has a similar path as Garrett Hill has shown being an occasional starter or relief option.