Looks a hair shorter than 6-foot-2; athletic frame; plenty of present strength in lower body; pitches from the first-base side of the rubber; stays tall into balance point then shows a big upper-body lean toward third base during stride, harming the pitcher's overall balance; lands closed and throws across his body; delayed trunk rotation; arm action is on the long side with a bit of a hook in the back and a high back elbow; releases the ball from a 3/4 slot; exhibits some arm recoil and violence, spinning off wildly toward first base. Despite some mechanical oddities, Mella repeats the delivery fairly well and should continue to harness the intricacies going forward.
Augusta GreenJackets (Low A, Giants)
55; no. 3/4 starter
Velocity: plus-plus; held velocity throughout start. Command: fringe average; flashed ability to live low in the zone and get grounders and go up and out of the zone for whiffs; missed high too often in this look and was loose within the zone, but further repetitions should iron out minor control concerns; above-average future command profile. Movement: plus-plus; incredibly heavy fastball with explosive arm-side life; generates great plane when he works low in the zone. Comments: This is a plus-plus future offering, with plus-plus life and velocity. The command profile needs work, but the pitch has the ability to be a major weapon at the major-league level as both a barrel-missing offering and one that can generate whiffs.
Command: below average; around the plate with the pitch but left it up and hanging too often. Movement: plus arm-side sink and fade; bat-missing pitch vs. LHB; falls off the table at the front of the plate and elicits awkward swings. Comments: The changeup was ahead of the curveball in this particular outing. He showed major confidence in the pitch and threw it with conviction. Command of the offering will be refined with time and further repetitions.
Command: below average; choked it in the dirt and left it up in the zone with frequency; struggled with feel and release point throughout the entire start. Movement: flashed sharp 11/5 break a handful of times; was a spinner/cement mixer at its worst. Comments: The curveball was behind the other two pitches in this viewing and requires projection, but the pitch flashes above-average with sharp break and should be harnessed with further iterations. He showed enough with the pitch in this offering for it to be considered a future above-average offering at the major-league level.
While there are some delivery concerns with Mella, he flashes the repeatability and the required command of his pitches to make it work in a starting role despite some funkiness. This is a legitimate three-pitch mix, and the soon-to-be 21-year-old shows the necessary ability to sequence and pitch off of his future double-plus fastball. Both secondaries require projection in terms of consistency and command, but each flashes above-average to plus potential and should play well off of the potentially dominant fastball.
Some will see the funky, somewhat violent delivery and immediately slot Mella into a future bullpen role, but the repertoire is well-rounded and would work beautifully in the rotation if each pitch reaches its potential. I have enough confidence in the total package to say that he sticks in the rotation long-term with the ceiling of a no. 2 starter on a first-division club. This is an arm that will shoot up lists this offseason.