AUSTIN, Texas (KTSM) – After ruling the college baseball world in 2022, El Paso’s Ivan Melendez is ready to see if he can do the same at the next level as he is preparing to embark on his first full season as a professional baseball player.

Melendez was selected in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft, 43rd overall by Arizona back on July 17, 2022. This came after Melendez had a historic 2022 season with the Texas Longhorns where he claimed the Golden Spikes Award. The El Paso native led college baseball in home runs (32) and RBI (94), while leading the Longhorns to the College World Series for a second year in a row.

On Saturday, Melendez got the chance to return to Austin, Texas and play in the Texas Baseball Alumni Game at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. It was a great opportunity for Melendez to return to his old stomping grounds before he goes full steam ahead in his road to the show.

“I just feel like everything happened so fast. I played my season and then got drafted and right after the draft started playing,” Melendez said. “I felt like with baseball, you just got to go out and play every day because I you know, I just locked it on today. I never looked back.”

“It is pretty wild after that last year. You know, winning the Golden Spikes. Just everything went so fast. I felt like a year flew by,” Melendez said. “But we’re on to bigger and better things.”

Melendez did get a taste of playing at the pro level shortly after being drafted last July. He played 29 games in the minors, four of them at the Rookie level, and the other 25 with the Visalia Rawhide, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Single-A affiliate.

In 29 games, Melendez hit .206, had 20 hits, three home runs, eight runs batted in, and struck out 25 times.

Heading into 2023, has Melendez listed as one of the top first baseman prospects.

Melendez said that he expects to start this season in the minor leagues at the High-A level with the Hillsboro Hops.