Melky won't turn 23 until July 2008 still putting him in the top 30 of the youngest players in all of baseball. We forget just how young Melky is, and that he therefore has significant upside still to realize.
Melky - 286 games, 1024 AB
Player B- 283 games, 1178 AB
Player C - 271 games, 1017 AB
Melky - 15 HR (1 HR every 68 AB)
Player B - 20 HR (1 HR every 59 AB)
Player C - 11 HR (1 HR every 92 AB)
In a very similar number of games and AB, player B showed a touch more power than the Melk man, and player C a touch less; either way, none draw Bambino comparisons. Power is typically the last tool to develop (as B and C will show); being comfortable enough at the plate to try and drive the ball instead of just trying to make enough contact to get a hit comes in time.
Melky - 99 BB/129 K (.767 BB per K)
Player B- 130 BB/199 K (.653 BB per K)
Player C - 31 BB/118 K9 (.26 BB per K)
During the early part of a player's career, pitch recognition is paramount. Therefore, the ratio of walks per strikeout is an excellent measure of how well a young player is handling the bat. Player B improved to the tune of a .88 for his career; a 35% improvement (player C remained approx 2:1 K/BB). Should Melky experience the same percentage increase as player B he will be walking more than once for every K.
Melky - .275 BA, .340 OBP, .388 SLG
Player B -.262 BA, .340 OBP, .393 SLG
Player C - .285 BA, .310 OBP, .387 SLG
There is absolutely nothing here to say that either player B or C looked like they were going to develop any differently than Melky.
Lifetime stats -
Player B - .297 BA, .381 OBP, .477 SLG, career 125 OPS+ 5 time All Star over 16 seasons
Player C - .317 BA, .359 OBP, .475 SLG, career 130 OPS+, 15 time All Star over 18 seasons
So player B had a career OPS 25% above MLB average for his career, and player C 30% above MLB average for his career, while both started almost exactly like Melky.
Both player B and C were borderline hall of famers (C made it and B has not).
Again, the point of all of this is that it is WAY too early to start calling Melky a 4th outfielder. While projecting players using comp beginnings is pretty much akin to mental masturbation, there is still plenty of time for Melky to develop into an offensive force in center field.
Player B -
Player C -