Born: August 2, 1993
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 234
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: International Free Agent, 2011 (Giants)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
Country: Dominican Republic
Agent: N/A
Mella spent six years making prospect lists with the Giants and Reds, moving up through the minors.  Starting in 2016, he was erratic, possibly due to a high-effort delivery.  As a starter, Mella threw 91-95 mph with a promising curve and a change he didn’t throw much.  Although he remained a starter in the minors until 2021, scouts considered him a future reliever and that’s all he’s done in the majors.  He had brief stint in the big leagues every year from 2017 through 2021, mostly struggling.  As a reliever he averages about 95 mph with his fastball, reaching 97.  He now throws a slider, but it’s inconsistent, leaving him too reliant on the fastball.  The Pirates signed Mella to a minor league deal in August 2021.

DSL:  3-3-0, 2.47 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 69.1 IP, 3.6 BB/9, 9.7 K/9

Mella made 14 starts in the DSL and pitched well.  He held opponents to a .629 OPS.

R:  3-2-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 36.0 IP, 2.8 BB/9, 10.3 K/9

The Giants moved Mella up to the Arizona League and he had almost exactly the same season.  This time opponents managed only a .594 OPS against him.  Baseball America rated him the Giants’ 13th best prospect.

A-:  1-1-0, 1.83 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 19.2 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 9.2 K/9
A:  3-3-0, 3.93 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 66.1 IP, 1.8 BB/9, 8.5 K/9

Mella opened the season in full season ball and pitched well over a dozen starts, possibly a little better than his ERA indicates.  The Giants shut him down in late June with a minor shoulder injury, then sent him to short season ball in August.  BA ranked him fourth in the Giants’ system after the year.

A+ (SF):  5-3-0, 3.31 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 81.2 IP, 2.9 BB/9, 9.1 K/9
A+ (Cinn):  3-1-0, 2.95 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 21.1 IP, 6.3 BB/9, 9.7 K/9

Mella continued pitching well in high A, all the more so because he was in the high-scoring California League.  At the trade deadline, the Giants sent him to Cincinnati in a deal for Mike Leake.  He continued his strong pitching after the trade.  BA ranked him eighth in the Reds’ system.

A+:  8-9-0, 3.90 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 131.2 IP, 3.8 BB/9, 6.5 K/9
AAA:  1-0-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 7.0 IP, 1.3 BB/9, 7.7 K/9

The Reds sent Mella back to high A and he didn’t pitch as well, especially considering that he was in the extreme pitching environs of the Florida State League.  His opponents’ OPS went from .600 the year before to .730, and his K rate dropped sharply.  BA dropped his prospect ranking to 19th.  The Reds added Mella to their 40-man roster after the season.

AA:  4-10-1, 4.30 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 134.0 IP, 2.9 BB/9, 7.3 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 6.75 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 4.0 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 2.3 K/9

Still pitching as a starter in AA, Mella again had just a decent year, with the continued lower K rate.  The Reds called him up in late September and he made two brief appearances in relief.  BA rated him 22nd in the system.

AA:  7-3-0, 3.07 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 85.0 IP, 3.3 BB/9, 9.2 K/9
AAA:  2-1-0, 2.74 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 2.3 BB/9, 5.5 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 8.68 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 7.7 BB/9, 7.7 K/9

Mella went back to AA and pitched much better.  At mid-season, the Reds moved him up to AAA, then to the majors after three starts, two of them very good.  He struggled through four relief appearances for the Reds in August, then went back to AAA.  Mella missed September with a strained oblique.  BA rated him 15th in the Reds’ system.

AAA:  8-14-0, 5.05 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 142.2 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 6.4 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 7.36 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 3.2 IP, 4.9 BB/9, 9.8 K/9

Mella spent the entire season in AAA, until coming up to Cincinnati for two relief appearances in late September.  He didn’t have a good season.  With Mella out of options, the Reds outrighted him to AAA after the season, but he elected free agency.  Arizona signed him to a minor league contract in January.

MLB:  2-0-0, 1.80 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 10.0 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

Mella initially went to the D’backs’ alternate site once the pandemic season started, but Arizona called him up on September 1.    He got into 11 games in relief and pitched well.

AAA:  1-0-0, 4.34 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 29.0 IP, 2.8 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 32.40 ERA, 6.00 WHIP, 1.2 IP, 10.8 BB/9, 10.8 K/9

At the beginning of spring training, Arizona outrighted Mella to AAA.  For the first time, Mella pitched out of the bullpen in the minors and did decently, considering that he was in a high-offense environment at Reno in the Pacific Coast League.  The D’backs called him up in late June and he made two very bad relief appearances, then was removed to the roster and assigned to AAA.  Arizona released him a month later and he signed a minor league deal with the Pirates.

The Pirates signed Mella at a point where they were looking to bolster their staff at Indianapolis, which was running short due to trades, injuries and promotions.

2021: Minor league salary
Signing Bonus: $275,000
MiLB Debut: 2012
MLB Debut: 9/20/2017
MiLB FA Eligible: 2021
MLB FA Eligible: 2027
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/18/2016 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 0 (USED:  2017, 2018, 2019)
MLB Service Time: 0.170
September 9, 2011: Signed as an international free agent by the San Francisco Giants.
July 30, 2015: Traded by the San Francisco Giants with Adam Duvall to the Cincinnati Reds for Mike Leake.
November 18, 2016: Contract purchased by the Cincinnati Reds.
November 4, 2019: Outrighted to AAA by the Cincinnati Reds; refused assignment and elected free agency.
January 21, 2020: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
September 1, 2020: Called up by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
February 26, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks; outrighted to AAA on March 1.
June 15, 2021: Called up by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
June 22, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks; assigned to AAA on June 28.
July 28, 2021: Released by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
August 3, 2021: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.