Melendez Voted Top Offensive Player in Minor League Baseball for 2021
PAPILLION, Neb. - MJ Melendez has been named the Top Offensive Player in Minor League Baseball, Minor League Baseball announced Tuesday.
Melendez, who led Minor League Baseball with 41 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A to earn the Joe Bauman Award, was voted by fans as the Top Offensive Player as part of this year's MiLBY Awards, earning 33 percent of the vote. Bobby Witt Jr., who was also a finalists for Top Offensive Player, finished third in fan voting for the award with 20 percent of the vote.
In 44 games with Omaha, Melendez hit .293/.413/.620 with 37 runs scored four doubles, 13 home runs, 38 RBIs and a 39:32 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In 123 total games between Double-A and Triple-A, Melendez hit .288/.386/.625 with 95 runs scored, 22 doubles, 41 home runs, 103 RBIs, and 75 walks. In addition to leading Minor League Baseball in home runs (41), he finished the year second in Minor League Baseball in RBIs (103), fourth in extra-base hits (66), and fourth in OPS (1.011).
Melendez began the season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, hitting two home runs on Opening Day en route to hitting 28 home runs in 79 games with the Naturals prior to his promotion to Triple-A. At the time of his promotion, Melendez led all Double-A players in home runs and was second in Minor League Baseball, trailing Miami Marlins prospect Griffin Conine, who had 29 and finished the season with 36.
The 22-year-old hit his first Triple-A home run in his Triple-A debut on Aug. 11 vs. Iowa before smacking his 30th home run of the season on Aug. 13 vs. Iowa, a game-tying solo home run as part of back-to-back home runs with Ryan McBroom. Melendez took the Minor League lead in home runs for good on Sept. 12 at St. Paul with his 37th home run of the season and ninth at the Triple-A level. Five games later, Melendez recorded his 38th of the year and 10th at the Triple-A level with a grand slam on Sept. 18 vs. Iowa. He launched his 39th home run of the season on Sept. 23 vs. Indianapolis before eclipsing 40 home runs with his 40th and 41st of the year in a two-homer game on Sept. 26 vs. Indianapolis in the final home game of season for Omaha.
Finishing the season with 41 home runs, Melendez recorded the 17th 40+ home run season in Minor League Baseball since 1990 and the first since 2016. His 41 home runs were the most in a single season since 2014, when Kris Bryant hit 43. He became the first primary catcher since Todd Greene (40, 1995) to hit at least 40 home runs in a single season and lead Minor League Baseball in homers. Additionally, Melendez joined Chris Hatcher (46, 1998), Craig Brazell (39, 2007), and Mike Moustakas (36, 2010) as Omaha players to lead Minor League Baseball in home runs during a season in which they played for Omaha and joined Brazell and Moustakas as Omaha players to earn the Joe Bauman Award, which was first awarded in 2002.
Ticket packages for the 2022 season, as well as Chasers Blue Books and undated voucher packs, are available for purchase through the Werner Park Ticket Office. For more information, visit omahastormchasers.com or call the Werner Park Ticket Office at (402) 738-5100 and follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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