Guardians minor leaguer Andrés Meléndez dies 'suddenly' at 20

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  • Cleveland Indians
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CLEVELAND, OHIO - NOVEMBER 19: Staff members put up Cleveland Guardians signage on the side of the stadium at Progressive Field on November 19, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Indians officially changed their name to the Cleveland Guardians on Friday. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Andrés Meléndez drew raves from scouts for his defense behind the plate. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Andrés Meléndez, minor league catcher in the Cleveland Guardians organization, died suddenly in Miami on Thursday, the team announced via a statement on Twitter. He was 20 years old.

Meléndez's cause of death was not disclosed. In the Guardians' statement, the team described Meléndez as a beloved teammate and expressed support for his family and other loved ones.

Meléndez joined the Cleveland organization in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019. The Brewers also released a statement mourning the player from president of baseball operations David Stearns.

Meléndez, born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, began his career with the Brewers in 2018 as a well-regarded international prospect. At the time of his trade, Baseball America raved about his defense, rating him as potentially elite behind the plate with a plus-plus arm and advanced game management skills.

In his first year of full-season minor league ball, Meléndez hit .247/.367/.431 with eight homers and 46 RBI in 73 games. 

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