Guardians minor league catcher Andrés Meléndez passed away on Thursday at age 20, the team announced. No specific details have been released about Meléndez’s passing, though he died “suddenly,” as per the club’s statement.
“Meléndez is remembered by his teammates and friends as a positive, respectful and thoughtful young man with a beautiful smile who had a profound impact on others,” the Guardians said in their statement. “He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, loved ones, teammates and those who knew him.”
A native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Meléndez was an international signing for the Brewers in July 2017. He spent his first two pro seasons in Milwaukee’s farm system before Cleveland acquired him in the November 2019 trade that sent infielder Mark Mathias to the Brewers.
Meléndez didn’t play in 2020 due to the canceled minor league season, but he returned to the field in impressive fashion in 2021, hitting .247/.367/.431 with eight home runs over 289 plate appearances for A-level Lynchburg. Known for his strong throwing arm, Meléndez threw out 33.7% (61/181) of all baserunners trying to steal during his career.
MLB Trade Rumors sends our condolences to Meléndez’s family and friends.