The New York Yankees got the designated hitter they felt they needed in Lance Berkman. To get him, they sent two toolsy players, one a Triple-A reliever, the other an A-level middle infielder, to Houston. Here's more information on Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes.
In some ways, the 2010 season has been a little bit disappointing for Melancon, the Yankees' ninth-round pick in the '06 Draft. Many felt he'd be a mainstay in the Yankees' bullpen by now, but he hasn't quite been able to stick, though he has made a combined 15 appearances in the big leagues over the past two seasons.
Melancon, who had Tommy John surgery in October 2006, hasn't had any problems with his stuff. He's got an excellent fastball that he throws 92-95 mph and a power breaking ball. He also has a quality changeup. Melancon is a hard worker with outstanding makeup, possessing the kind of aggressive mentality teams like to see in a short reliever. The Yankees had hoped he'd be a seventh- or eighth-inning guy for them, but he has the stuff and makeup to close. The one thing he needs to do is command his fastball better. He's been elevating too many of them, making them too hittable for Major League hitters. If he can command the lower part of the zone better, Houston could have a future closer on their hands.
Astros fans will have to wait a while to see what Paredes is all about. The 21-year-old Dominican has had a solid full-season debut, hitting .282/.312/.408 with 36 steals for Charleston in the South Atlantic League. He was a New York-Penn League All-Star in 2009.
Paredes is an athletic switch-hitter with plus speed. He should hit for average in the future and many feel he'll grow into power as he matures. Plate discipline -- 18 walks in 99 games -- has been an issue, and it remains to be seen how much he can improve in that area of his game. He had arm surgery a while back, but he's 100 percent now and has a plus arm. In all likelihood, he'll have to use that arm in the outfield and could have the tools to play either center or right. His hands and feet don't work well enough to stay in the middle infield, but with a plus run tool, plus arm and plus body, there's still plenty to like about this high-ceiling prospect.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.