Throughout the current offseason, we’re reviewing all 316 players to appear in the Houston Astros system in 2022.
Jacob Melton is a six-foot-three, 208 lb. outfielder from Medford, OR. Born on September 7, 2000, the Astros drafted the left-handed batting product of Oregon State University in the second round just three months ago with the 64th overall selection. Twenty-three players have advanced to the majors after being chosen at that spot, most notably Brian McCann and Hunter Pence.
The three seasons that Melton spent with the Beavers yielded a .364/.428/.660 slash line, with 23 home runs, 108 RBI, and 29 stolen bases in 31 attempts. That cache of stats translated to cash of a different sort, a $1 million signing bonus to be precise. It was slightly over $100K less than the slotted value of the pick, which allowed the Astros to work some later-round magic. Melton signed the deal on June 26.
Here’s a scouting evaluation of Melton’s swing, as previously published at Athletics Nation:
Swing features an open stance, leg kick, and other moving parts. But there’s plenty of bat speed and the barrel stays in the zone a long time. Swing is geared for loft and has all-fields power. Could be Plus (60) Power. Will expand the zone and there is swing and miss vs. breaking stuff. “Hammered” fastballs, especially the 93+ variety. Should stick in CF but has played all over in the outfield and 1st base.
Melton, currently ranked sixth on Houston’s MLB Prospect Pipeline, was first assigned to rookie ball, with the FCL Astros Blue squad for four games in early August. He went 0-for-17 with no walks and six strikeouts. Despite that, he was promoted to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers on August 13.
Melton put up far better numbers for the Birds, slashing .324/.424/.578 over 19 contests, with four homers and 13 RBI. For a 13-game stretch right in the middle, he hit safely 12 times and went 20-for-51 overall. Six times through his short look, he collected multiple hits. On August 31, he went four-for-four with a walk, two doubles, and a home run in a 6-0 blanking of the Down East Wood Ducks.
Considering his performance at the Low-A level to conclude the 2022 season, I think Melton will probably begin the 2023 campaign at High-A with the Asheville Tourists. A sensible timeline would see him graduate to Houston proper when the rosters expand in 2025.
Jaxon Hallmark is a five-foot-10, 175 lb. infielder/outfielder from Midland, TX. Born on October 2, 1998, the right-hander played four seasons of collegiate ball with the University of Nebraska. In 158 games, he slashed .290/.376/.417 with 15 homers and 80 RBI. He stole 29 bases in 37 attempts overall. He was named to the Big 10 All Conference Team for his 2021 performance.
After going undrafted in 2021, Hallmark signed on with the Houston Astros through free agency on July 21, 2021. On April 5 of this year, Hallmark was assigned to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers at the Low-A level. In 61 games, Hallmark slashed .201/.321/.271 with negligible power numbers and 20 stolen bases in 25 attempts.
Ten times through his tenure with the Woodpeckers Hallmark collected multiple hit games. On July 14, he went three-for-four with a home run and three RBI in an 11-4 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. On August 15, Houston released Hallmark.