Minor League Camp Notes: Mella throws, Leo Rojas shows quick bat

20-year-old Keury Mella from the Dominican Republic. (Conner Penfold / Giant Potential)

Plus bonus footage from Luis Ysla

Conveniently, Keury Mella and Luis Ysla threw back-to-back in Thursday's "Low-A" game at the Giants minor league complex, making it relatively easy for me to compare the two. 

I saw Ysla just days earlier and liked what he offered, but was curious to get another look at Mella (whose video I wasn't able to shoot).

Mella seemed to be less polished than Ysla, which makes sense when you realize Mella is a year younger. But Ysla's secondary pitches seemed to have more life on them than Mella's, who threw mostly curveballs with maybe one firm changeup mixed in. Keith Law mentioned to me that he thinks his changeup needs a lot of work and says it's "too firm." Both fastballs are comparable, but Ysla's slider and changeup are, simply put, further along than Mella's. 

Ysla threw two innings on Thursday (left video), throwing more fastballs and changeups than his previous outing (right video), where the slider worked wonders yielding strikeouts. Pitching mostly to contact, Ysla forced soft ground balls and pop ups with one strikeout in two scoreless.

Now, onto the lineups for San Francisco's Low-A and High-A squads against Arizona.


C - Ty Ross

1B - Ryan Tuntland

2B - Brandon Bednar

SS - Rando Moreno

3B - Jonah Arenado

LF  - Craig Massoni

CF - Randy Ortiz

RF - Ben Leslie

DH - John Riley


C - Leo Rojas

1B - Brian Ragira

2B - John Polonius

SS - Ryder Jones

3B - Mitch Delfino

LF - Rafael Rodriguez

CF - Chuckie Jones

RF - Christian Diaz

DH - Tyler Horan

A couple things stood out amongst the position players. Leo Rojas (video left of him last year in Salem-Kezier) homered deep to straight away left and caught half of the High-A game, looking mighty smooth fielding several bunts and swinging bunts. As evidenced in the video, Rojas displays an exceptionally quick and compact bat, with above-average pop. Seeing him with the High-A group was interesting, with Ben Turner likely being the guy on most days in San Jose this coming year but Rojas could see a lot of DH with the power he harnesses. 

Chuckie Jones hit a loud home run, as well, and looked surprisingly agile playing center field, where he was placed just once in 2013. 


  • Ryder Jones playing shortstop with the High-A squad was fun to see. Looked as good as does at third.
  • Mystery man Ray Black hit 100 three times in his one inning of work. Story coming soon on him.
  • John Polonius has reportedly gained a bit of weight, but looked a bit shaky at second base on Thursday.
  • Rafael Rodriguez showed a very strong arm from left field, hitting cut-off men perfectly on multiple occasions and throwing a seed into Rojas, holding a runner at third. However, to me, he looks weird at the plate. I can't put my finger on it but something about his stance/swing are awkward.
  • Jonah Arenado turned nicely on a Braden Shipley 92 mph fastball to clear the bases in the Low-A game with a double off the left field wall.