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Cleveland Guardians 20-year-old catching prospect Andres Melendez passed away today in Miami, Florida. The cause of death has not yet been released. 

Melendez began his professional career signing with the Milwaukee Brewers as an International Free Agent on July 2, 2017, out of Barquisimeto, Venezuela. He spent two seasons with the Milwaukee before being traded to Cleveland after the 2019 season for Mark Mathias.

Andres was a very intriguing catching prospect, especially on the defensive side. Heading into the 2021 season Melendez was considered pretty advanced behind the dish for a 19-year-old at the time. He possessed a strong arm and was praised for how well he handled his pitching staff when he was behind the plate. His only hold back from reaching his dream of the Majors was the continued development of his bat.

In 2020 Melendez was set to make his pro-debut with Cleveland before the CoVID-19 pandemic wiped out the entire minor league season. Melendez was assigned to the organizations Low-A affiliate Lynchburg Hillcats for the start of the 2021 season. 

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During the 2021 season with Lynchburg, he played in 73 games on the season and hit .247 and finished with a .367 OBP in large part to his good eye at the plate inducing 44 walks. Melendez's bat really started to come around in August and September as he finished the season red hot at the plate.

Over his final 32 games for Lynchburg Melendez hit .339 with 6 HR's and 33 RBI's over 109 AB's. During that same span, he posted a .596 SLG% and a 1.031 OPS. His dramatic improvement at the plate had many very excited about his future heading into the 2022 season and beyond. 

Sadly, now we will never know how far this young man could have reached in his professional career. Melendez did however leave a lasting impression amongst everyone he came in contact with within the organization. He was a beloved teammate and always had a smile on his face and will be missed by many but not forgotten.