EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso’s Ivan Melendez is bringing it back to Texas.
Melendez, who was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 16th round of last week’s MLB Draft, announced he will forgo the opportunity to go pro and instead will return to the Longhorns’ lineup in 2022 for his junior season. The former Coronado High School standout taking to Twitter to announce his decision.
In an interview with KTSM last week, Melendez said, “It would have to be a good amount of money to pass up my degree at UT Austin and everything I have going on down there as far as baseball goes.”
Going into the 2021 MLB Draft, Melendez was ranked as a top-200 prospect by numerous publications, but fell in the draft to pick No. 479. His asking price, in terms of a signing bonus from the Marlins, exceeded the slot value for where he was selected, which ultimately led to his decision to return to Texas.
Drafted as a third basemen by the Marlins, Melendez primarily served as the designated hitter for the Longhorns last season. Batting in the cleanup spot, the El Paso native hit .319 with 13 home runs and 51 RBI in his first season of Division I baseball, but feels like he was unable to showcase himself as a complete player.
“I just feel like they’re [MLB] evaluating me on half the player I am knowing that I basically DH’d the whole season and only played six games defensively,” said Melendez. “I feel like going back to Texas would be beneficial.”
Melendez, an All-Big 12 selection in the regular season, was selected to the All-College World Series team and smacked a pair of game-winning hits while he was in Omaha. He became a sensation after a massive home run was the eventual game-winning hit in an elimination game against the eventual national champion Mississippi State Bulldogs.