For all 2016 Prospect Ranking Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out one a day over the offseason).
The Cincinnati Reds signed Tim Melville to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training following the 2015 season. In 2015 he spent the entire year pitching for the Toledo Mudhens, the Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.
The season began for Melville on April 11th against the Louisville Bats where he tossed 4.0 innings, allowing four runs on three walks and five strikeouts. He returned home for the next start, allowing just a run on two hits in 5.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts. Alternating good and rough starts, the next one was a rough outing against Indianapolis where he allowed four runs on five walks and a strikeout in 5.2 innings. The right hander rebounded well in the final start of April, allowing a hit and four walks in 6.0 shutout innings. In four starts on the month he would post a 3.80 ERA in 21.1 innings, but he did walk as many batters as he struck out, 14.
May didn’t get out to a good start for Tim Melville as he gave up 11 earned runs in his first two starts, spanning 9.0 innings pitched. Things didn’t get much better from there as he allowed 12 more over the next three starts and 18.1 innings. In his final start of the month things started turning around as the 25-year-old gave up two runs in 6.0 innings with five strikeouts. May was rough overall though as he posted a 6.75 ERA in 33.1 innings with 10 walks and 21 strikeouts. The much lower walk rate was a good step in the right direction.
June started out with 8.0 innings of one run baseball where the righty walked three and had one strikeout. The next time out was rough for Melville as he allowed three earned in 2.2 innings with five walks. On the 15th things didn’t go much better as he was charged with seven runs in 5.2 innings. On the 20th he returned to the mound and found more success, giving up two runs in 6.0 innings with two walks and three strikeouts. In his final start of the month he again allowed two runs, this time over 6.1 innings but had three walks and just one strikeout. After a step forward in walk rate during May, he took a step backwards in June as he walked 15 batters with just 13 walks in 28.2 innings while posting a 4.71 ERA.
In the first start of July Tim Melville was charged with six unearned runs and one earned run over 6.0 innings in a game where his defense struggled. In his next two starts he would be charted with five earned runs in 11.0 innings with eight walks and five strikeouts. On the 20th the right hander was charged with an unearned run in 5.0 innings on five walks and four strikeouts. He finished up the month by allowing seven runs in 5.0 innings on six walks with three strikeouts. For the second straight month he walked more batters than he struck out. He did post a 4.33 ERA in 27.0 innings, but the control problems were concerning.
After more than a week off, Tim Melville returned to the mound and allowed six runs in 5.1 innings against Lehigh Valley, walking two and striking out three. That was followed up by allowing two runs in 6.0 innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. Feeding off of that start he went out on the 14th and made arguably his best start of the year by allowing one run on a hit and two walks over 7.0 innings with eight strikeouts. In his next two starts, each lasting 6.0 innings he allowed five total earned runs with a walk and eight strikeouts. On September 1st he tossed 6.0 shutout innings against Louisville with a walk and five strikeouts. In the final start of the year Melville would give up two runs in 5.0 innings with a walk and six strikeouts. After two straight months with more walks than strikeouts, a switch flipped on for Tim Melville, who walked just eight batters and struck out 37 in his final seven starts that spanned 41.1 innings. He posted a 3.48 ERA in that time frame as well.
Overall, his season was a bit rough, but Melville really turned things around at the end of the season, to the point where he looked like an entirely different pitcher.
Tim Melville Scouting Report
When the Reds were close to signing the right hander I wrote up a quick scouting report while talking about the deal. Here is what it said:
At one point he was a Top 100 prospect in baseball, but that was a long time ago (after the 2009 season). He’s still showing quality stuff – working in the 91-93 MPH range and touching higher with two solid or better breaking balls. It’s just been his inability to throw enough strikes that’s been holding him back. Consistently pitching behind in counts makes everything that much more difficult.
What’s interesting to note though, is that from April through July, he walked 60 batters (12.2% of the ones he faced), including three months where he either had as many walks as strikeouts or more walks than strikeouts. Then over the course of seven starts in August and September he walked just seven batters unintentionally (4.3%) to go along with 37 strikeouts (22.6%).