Saturday, April 5
Augusta 6, Charleston 3
It's tough to imagine Mella could surpass my expectations based on what I had heard and read about him, but I'm pretty sure he just surpassed my expectations.
Mella worked 91-94 (lost count of the 94s) with heavy sink. When you talk about a fastball being heavy or having weight, you mean a pitch that sinks and is tough to barrel consistently. It gives the impression that the ball is heavier because it's tougher to hit hard, therefore batters drive it into the ground. Mella's fastball is the definition of this. It's a plus pitch right now.
I've read that Mella's curveball is ahead of the changeup, but I don't think the difference is as great as some seem. His changeup flashed plus potential. It has a long way to go, as it's very firm and he didn't get a grasp of it, but the arm action and fade are solid. His curveball bites late with good two-plane break. I don't think I saw a single one with hump. It profiles as an out pitch and is definitely a plus-potential offering. He still needs to command it better, because he choked some in the dirt or left some out to dry arm-side, but the rotation and break are solid.
Mella hides the ball well despite his arm action being a little long. He has some deception, making the fastball play even further up because it can jump on hitters. His arm action might be a little long, but I like his delivery. It has good pace and is repeatable. I don't foresee any tweaks there.
Baseball Prospectus labeled Mella a No. 2 ceiling, and I might be crazy to go along with it after seeing him one time, but I'm willing to take that risk. This kid seems to be the real deal. If he can turn the corner in development and become more of a pitcher than a thrower, the Giants have a legitimate frontline starter on their hands.
It also doesn't hurt that he seems to be a great kid. Mella showed a bulldog mentality on the mound in his Augusta debut. While others his age might succumb to the pressure of their first full-season start at night, Mella seemed to take his start to task and owned it. Manager Mike Goff said as much after the game. Mella seems to have the makeup to succeed.
"Mella did a very nice job," Goff said. "First time out in front of fans and lights, you never know how guys are going to react. I was very impressed with his composure, very impressed with his ability to come back. The kid grew up a lot tonight. He showed us what type of mentality he has and the toughness he has."
Notable Augusta lines:
Keury Mella: 5.2 IP, 7 H, R/ER, 5 K, 13 ground balls, 2 fly balls, 2 line drives, 7 swinging strikes
Randy Ortiz: 2-4, 3B, 3 RBI
Tyler Horan: 2-4, 2B, RBI
Matthew Chavez: 2-4, 2B
Ryder Jones: 2-4
Cristian Paulino: 0-2, 2 RBI, BB
Notable Charleston lines:
Giovanny Gallegos: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, BB, 7 K
Brandon Thomas: 3-4, 2B, 3B
Abiatal Avelino: 1-5, 2B, RBI
Aaron Judge: 2-4, BB
Luis Torrens: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB