Cincinnati Reds #18 Prospect: Keury Mella Doug Gray December 5, 2018 10 Comments When the Cincinnati Reds traded Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants it was Keury Mella that was thought of as the main part coming back to Cincinnati in that deal. However, Adam Duvall wound up becoming an All-Star and having two different 30-homer seasons for the Reds. Mella was still working his way up through the Minor Leagues during that time. He made his Major League debut late in September of 2017. He pitched in two games before the season was over. When the season began in 2018 for Keury Mella it was back in Pensacola. That’s the same place he finished his minor league season the year before. Things got out to a nice start for the right handed pitcher in April. He allowed one earned in his first start of the season, covering 5.0 innings. The next time out he tossed 6.0 shutout innings without a walk. In the next two starts he allowed two earned runs over 9.0 innings. On April 27th he put together his best start of the month. He threw 7.0 shutout frames with nine strikeouts against Jacksonville. In his five April starts he posted a 1.00 ERA across 27.0 innings with just five walks and he struck out 25 batters. The first start of May carried the April vibe as Keury Mella threw 5.0 innings with only an unearned run against him, a walk and he struck out seven batters. On the 8th he would have his first struggle of the season, allowing five runs – more than he had allowed all season through six starts, and gave up his first two home runs of the year. The then 24-year-old would rebound by giving up just two earned runs in 7.0 innings the next time out. But the struggles returned for the next three starts where he allowed 10 combined runs in just 12.0 innings with 11 walks and four hit batters as he battled his control. After a stellar April, May was quite the opposite. The right hander made six starts with a 5.10 ERA in 30.0 innings where he walked 14 batters with 31 strikeouts. June saw some carry over from May as Keury Mella allowed four earned runs in 3.2 innings on the 5th. He would settle back in after that, though. On the 10th he gave up just one run over 7.0 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts. On the 15th he threw 5.0 hitless innings against Mobile. After the All-Star break he put together a quality start against Jackson – giving up three runs in 6.0 innings to wrap up the month. He would complete June with a 3.32 ERA in 21.2 innings where he allowed just 14 hits, one home run, 10 walks, and he struck out 25 batters. July 3rd would wind up the final start that Keury Mella made in Double-A. He allowed one earned run in 6.1 innings with six strikeouts. The next time he took the mound he found himself in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats. When he took the mound against Toledo he was on his game, being charged with an unearned run over 5.0 innings in his debut. The next time out wasn’t as good, though. Mella walked more batters than he struck out while giving up five earned runs in 4.0 innings. On the 22nd of July he would rebound with 8.0 innings of 1-run baseball against Syracuse. On July 27th he was called up to Cincinnati. He wouldn’t pitch during the final few days of the month. He finished the month with a 2.70 ERA in 23.1 innings with one home run allowed, eight walks, and he struck out 16 hitters. On August 2nd Keury Mella would make his 2018 debut with the Reds. He pitched 4.1 innings of relief against the Nationals and allow just one earned run. He walked the tightrope as he walked four batters, but came out relatively unscathed. Four days later he allowed a run in 2.0 innings against the Mets where he walked no one and struck out two hitters. The next two appearances were struggles as he allowed seven earned in 3.0 innings. He was optioned back to Triple-A on the 13th. On August 18th he would allow one run in 4.0 innings against Charlotte. Six days later he threw 2.0 shutout innings, but he injured his oblique warming up prior to the 3rd inning. That was the last time he pitched during the year. For all 2018 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason). Keury Mella Scouting Report Fastball | Keury Mella found some of his old velocity again in 2018 as he began throwing in the 93-96 MPH range once again. At his best he touched 99 this season. Slider | The pitch can be an above-average offering at times, working in the 78-82 MPH. The pitch is inconsistent, though. At times it’s a bit more of a cutter than a slider. Change Up | Like the slider, it could be more consistent, but can flash itself as an above-average pitch. When it comes to raw stuff, Keury Mella’s got what it takes to be a big league starter. But he turned 25 late in the season and is still battling consistency with that stuff. It’s long been discussed that he probably winds up in the bullpen where his fastball and slider could play up at the back end of the bullpen. That certainly could be what the next season could hold. The uptick in his velocity to where it was a few years ago was good to see. During the 2017 season he was more often than not throwing 92-94 MPH. Having that jump up a few ticks really helped him miss more bats throughout the year. The secondary stuff did get a little more consistent, too. There is still work that needs to be done there. A move to the bullpen could accelerate that some as he would focus more on one of his two secondary offerings. While there’s still a chance that he remains a starter, and he may spend time next year doing just that in the Minor Leagues, most people still think he’s destined for the bullpen. With how the future bullpens are envisioned, he may fit the mold as a guy who could potentially go multiple innings to face the lineup a full time through before handing the game off to the next guy. Interesting Stat on Keury Mella He hit more batters in May, 5, than he did the rest of the year combined, 4. 10 Responses Jim December 5, 2018 Wouldn’t surprise me to see a repeat of a Mella/Leake swap. I guess bro December 5, 2018 The old proverbial “he touched 99”. Smh. But he sat at 93-96 but he was comfortable at 90-92. Lol but was consistent at 87-89. RedsinWashst December 5, 2018 Maybe read it again bro. earmbrister December 5, 2018 First time able to comment in a few days, so let me congratulate you Doug on your taking over of the reins at Redleg Nation. They’re in good hands with you. In MLB last year, Mella seemed very hittable. Does his FB lack movement? It was a small sample size, but not encouraging. He didn’t have much time in AAA, does he fit back there in 2019 or as a long man out of the Reds’ BP? Meanwhile, there’s been some noise in FA linking the Reds and Dallas Keuchel. As uneven as his results have been, even in a down year he would be the top starter in a Reds rotation. It’s a step in the right direction, and he turns a still young 31 on 1/1. I’d move on from Homer as his ERA+ hasn’t exceeded 73 over the last 4 years. The rotation looks a bit better as follows, though we could definitely use another starter beyond Keuchel: 1. Keuchel 2. Castillo 3. DeSclafani 4. Matt Harvey please (though you might find 2 viable starters below) 5. Lorenzen, Mahle, Romano, Reed While adding Keuchel and Harvey might lead to a situation where you have 6 viable starters, you need all 6 and more to get through a season. If the Reds add these two starters AND a good BP piece, it would make for a very good winter. It would be outstanding if you add those 3 plus AJ Pollack. earmbrister December 5, 2018 Or that other guy, Pollock. Doug Gray December 5, 2018 Thanks! Trying to get some things rolling over there, but it’ll probably be next week before a few of the cosmetic changes I am working on will take place. With Mella in the Majors – the sample size was incredibly small, and he had some issues throwing strikes when he was getting hit around the last two appearances. When they know you’ve got to go to your fastball it doesn’t matter how fast it is. earmbrister December 5, 2018 You’re more than welcome. The Mella sample size and the control issues are good valid points. As for Pollock, it seems that with the Mets also suddenly interested, the asking price will probably be too rich for the Reds. He’s apparently asking for the moon, or the sun and the moon, to start with, so it doesn’t bode well. I also believe that I read that he turned down a qualifying offer, so draft compensation would also have to be given up. Any ideas for a stopgap, say 2 year, CFr (assuming that Senzel doesn’t prove to be a good fit there)? I don’t think you can go into ST relying on an unproven Senzel. Shamrock December 5, 2018 Please no more “Dumb Polak” jokes guys. That’s considered racist hate nowadays… CP December 5, 2018 I’m good with this kid continuing to develop as a SP so long as there is room for him in the AAA rotation. I can more easily see him helping the big league club in the bullpen than the rotation in the near future though. Keep him in AAA most this year and just let him continue to grow/mature. Hopefully he can be a good piece of the bullpen later in the year or next year when they are really ready to compete! If he succeeds in AAA as a SP he could also easily be part of package that goes out for a trade for someone else we need more. MK December 5, 2018 I hope the Reds have a manager/coaching staff crew that will give the young players a real chance. Not bring them up to sit around for ten days then put them in and expect them to be ready. Maybe the sample size will be large enough to provide a true picture of the abilities.