We’re reviewing every player to appear in Houston’s system through the 2022 campaign.
Jaime Melendez is a five-foot-eight, 190 lb. right-handed pitcher from Puebla, MX. Born on September 26, 2001, he signed with Houston through free agency on April 30, 2019 for a deal that included a $195,000 bonus. He has a four-pitch mix including a fastball, a curve, and a slider all graded at 55, along with a 50-grade change.
Melendez has added about 5 mph to his fastball since signing and now operates at 92-95, though the shape and carry on his heater are more notable than its velocity. - MLB Pipeline
Melendez was assigned to the Dominican League Astros soon after signing, then spent the 2021 season between the Low-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers, the High-A Asheville Tourists, and the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. He’s currently on the books as Houston’s number 13 prospect according to the Pipeline.
In 2022, Melendez spent the entire season with the Hooks. The month of June, in particular, would see Melendez showing something special. He was named the Astros top minor league pitcher that month, striking out 31 in 22 1⁄3 innings against nine walks and 11 hits while putting up a 0.896 WHIP and a 2.01 ERA. He continued his streak into July, striking out 10 over six one-hit innings on July 2 in a 3-2 win over the Frisco RoughRiders.
Melendez faced 326 batters in total for the Hooks in 2022, and held his opponents to a .219/.353/.349 slash line. He also struck out 106 in 73 2⁄3 innings for a 13.0 K/9. He did walk 51, which contributed to his less-than-ideal 1.493 WHIP, but at just 21-years-old showed the FO plenty of good to cancel it out.
Melendez should begin the 2023 season at the Triple-A level with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, and could be in the mix for a mid- to late-season injury call-up.