Melky Mesa was a late addition, which explains his locker. It’s made of wood, positioned in a small chunk of open space in the middle of the Fenway Park visitors clubhouse, where all the other lockers are made of green metal lining the edges of the room. Mesa’s spot either stands out or doesn’t quite fit, depending on your point of view.
Of course, Mesa should be used to that by now.
Depending on your point of view, he’s either a uniquely gifted athlete — easy power, good speed, all the tools for center field — or an overwhelming disappointment who strikes out far too often to put that athleticism to use.
“Working, I’ve been working,” Mesa said, explaining how he got into that unusual spot in the Yankees clubhouse. “Working on everything. I never give up. I’ve got to keep working, and you can see the result.”
When he was a 22-year-old in Low-A, Mesa hit 20 home runs and stole 18 bases, but he also struck out 168 times in 133 games. This year, as a 25-year-old who finally reached Triple-A, he hit 23 homers, stole 22 bases and cut the strikeouts to 118 in 121 games. He homered just nine times last year, so his power must have improved this season, right?
“It’s the same,” he said. “Maybe more contact and then the ball will go out.”
Despite the Yankees trouble against lefties, it’s hard to envision Mesa getting regular playing time during this call-up. He seems more likely to pinch run a little bit and play some defense, but his .524 Triple-A slugging percentage suggests he can give the team some real outfield depth next season. There’s still an all-or-nothing quality to him — you’re either going to like his potential or feel he’s
“I just feel good because I just tried to put everything together to have a good season, and it’s working,” Mesa said. “I just feel proud. … I’m here. Part of the team. If they need me for something, just be here all the time. Be ready.”