Kevin answers questions on a variety of topics.
Midland second baseman Kevin Melillo stops by OaklandClubhouse with his latest player journal. In this installment, Kevin takes the time to answer a number of the fan questions we have received in response to his previous journal entries. Find out about the toughest pitchers and pitches Kevin has ever faced, some information about his college days, his experience in the big league clubhouse this spring and more inside…
Hello again, I hope everyone is doing well. We've had some great responses so far to the journals so I would like to thank those of you who wrote in and here are my answers to some of those questions.
Have you always played second base?
My position has always been second base. Believe it or not, I've always played there. Pretty much everyone [who plays second in the pros] played short in high school or college, but I was brought up playing second my whole life dating back to Babe Ruth baseball. We figured I was only going to be 5'10" or so, so that seemed like a good position for my body type.
What is the hardest pitch for you to hit?
The toughest pitch for me to hit changes from pitcher to pitcher. If you know someone has a good change-up, you look for it a lot. However, if they throw you a cut fastball or something hard inside in that situation it changes, and vice-versa. It's all about knowing the scouting report on someone and having a plan against him.
Have you ever had six hits in a game before? (Kevin had six hits on Easter against Corpus Christi)
Six hits in the game on Easter was definitely a career high for me. I can only think of one game with five hits and two games with four hits.....and this is dating back to when I was a little kid.
Did you get to spend time in the big league clubhouse this spring? What was that like?
I did get to spend some time in the clubhouse with the Major League guys in spring training and it was great. They are all nice guys and they do pretty much the same stuff minor league guys do to prepare themselves to play. Relaxing, watching TV, and playing some intense card games are always favorites.
What is the biggest difference between A and AA?
The biggest difference between A and AA in my opinion is the pitching. Every AA pitcher has a lot of movement on all of his pitches. Not that many fastballs are straight, therefore they induce more ground balls. Another huge difference is making plays on defense because line-ups are too good to give a team four or five outs an inning.
Who is the toughest pitcher you’ve ever faced?
I would have to say that the best pitcher I've ever faced was last month in the A’s-River Cats exhibition game against Rich Harden. Usually I love facing hard throwers (lefties or righties), but Harden has an excellent change-up as well to compliment his 97 mph fastball.
What was your Team USA experience like? How did you make the team?
When I was in high school, I got the chance to play on Team USA by going to Tucson, Arizona from my home in Florida with our high school team for a tournament. The tournament had 52 teams in it and a committee chose players from that tourney to represent the USA in the World Games.
In the first game of the tourney, I went 5-5 with three triples (the only five-hit game of my life) and sealed a spot on the team. We won the gold medal a few weeks later and it was the biggest thrill in my life up to that point.
How does Midland stack-up against the rest of the Texas League?
Our team here in Midland right now is great. I think we stack up very well with the other teams. We still have Arkansas and Springfield left to play but I think we'll be just fine. It seems like we find a way to win a lot, even though we haven't really put it all together yet. I think that when we do, our record will be even better, and we'll start having even more fun.
A number of people asked about Kevin’s days at South Carolina and whether or not he keeps in-touch with his former teammates.
Some of you have asked a lot about my college days at South Carolina. The Gamecocks have been very well represented in the professional ranks. I keep in touch with a lot of the guys. Guys like Marcus McBeth, Landon Powell and Steven Bondurant are with me here with the A's. Brian Buscher with the Giants and Jon Coutlangus with the Reds now are guys I've had a chance to play against as pros. I try to keep in touch as often as I can, but the season gets hectic.
I'd like to congratulate Drew Meyer, who played shortstop with me at South Carolina, who just got his first Major League call-up with the Rangers.
I hope I've answered all of your questions and feel free to write in if you have any more.
Have questions for Kevin? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your first name and your city and put “Question for Kevin” in the subject line of the email. He will respond to questions periodically throughout the season.