LOS ANGELES, California (KTSM) – El Paso’s Ivan Melendez is ready to take his game to the next level.

The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Melendez with the 43rd pick in the 2nd round of the 2022 MLB Draft on Sunday. The selection has a signing bonus slot value of $1.8 million, so the “Hispanic Titanic” could be in for a big payday from Arizona.

“I’m soaking it all in. I was under-recruited out of high school and had to go the JuCo route. I was drafted last year and they told me to come back. I trusted his word and it was the best thing for me and it worked out,” Melendez told the MLB Network crew after he was selected.

This comes as no surprise as Melendez and many draft experts expected the Coronado High School graduate to be taken off the board in the top two rounds of the draft.

The Diamondbacks are in need of a slugging first baseman and Melendez could provide that power punch. It’s also a great thing for his family in El Paso; if and when he makes it to the Big Leagues, Phoenix is just under six hours away, making it the closest MLB team to the Sun City.

Melendez and his parents and siblings were in Los Angeles for the MLB Draft and got to be a part of the festivities in person. At home in El Paso, his extended family had a large watch party in west El Paso and the scenes when he was selected were something out of a movie.

“We’re just right around the corner (from Arizona) so we’re so excited. We appreciate all the support and to see everyone so emotional brings great joy,” said Melendez’s aunt, Amanda Blake.

This is the second time Melendez has been drafted by a Major League Baseball team. In the 2021 MLB Draft, Melendez was selected by the Miami Marlins in the 16th round (pick No. 479). Instead of signing a professional contract, the ‘Hispanic Titanic’ took a gamble on himself and returned to Texas for another year playing NCAA Division I Baseball to boost his draft stock.

The gamble paid off as Melendez took over the college baseball world by storm. In his last season with Texas, Melendez led the nation in home runs (32), RBI (94) and slugging percentage (.863); his 32 home runs are the most in college baseball since 2003 and the most by a player from a Power-5 conference since 2000.

With those numbers the post-season awards easily came his way. Melendez captured the Golden Spikes Award; he also won the Dick Howser Trophy; the D1Baseball Player of the Year Award; the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award; the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Player of the Year; and the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year.

Melendez’s name is now in the history books of El Pasoans who have played their way to becoming a MLB draft pick.