Teen girl talent listed as MLB signing prospect

NEW YORK - Melissa Mayeux is a baseball shortstop in France. By all accounts, she can hit.

She is just 16, but already seems destined for big things in a game associated with men.

A recent Major League Baseball (MLB) story about her describes her smashing a line drive single off a pitcher throwing at 146kmh.

TALENTED

She's a legitimate shortstop who makes all the plays and is very smooth and fluid in the field.

- Mike McClellan, MLB director of international game development, on Melissa Mayeux

In a matter of weeks she could sign a contract with an MLB team.

While the chances of her getting such a contract are not great, the fact that MLB placed her name on an international registration list this weekend is a step the sport has never taken.

No female baseball player has ever been raised to the status of a prospect who can be signed.

What this means is that plenty of people inside and outside the game will be watching her in the upcoming months as she plays for France's Under-18 team in international competitions.

Mayeux's addition to the list was first reported by MLB.com, which announced the move on Sunday.

MLB's director of international game development, Mike McClellan was quoted as saying: "She's a legitimate shortstop who makes all the plays and is very smooth and fluid in the field. She swings the bat well and is fearless."

Mayeux, who also plays for France's national softball team, will be participating in a European elite skills camp in August. She is one of only four French players invited to the camp that will be run by the MLB.

"I would like very much to continue playing baseball in France until I'm 18 years old, and then pass the BAC (Baccalaureat) in France and then have the opportunity to leave for university or another opportunity abroad and stay in baseball as long as possible," Mayeux said in a video produced by MLB.com.

While she is eligible to be signed on July 2, a greater possibility is that she will continue to go through baseball's development system and play for the French national team, then possibly play college baseball if her skills improve.

Regardless, the fact that her name even appeared on baseball's signing list is a huge step for baseball and for women who play the game worldwide.

While women have been given opportunities to play professional basketball and football with men, baseball has been less welcoming.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2015, with the headline 'Teen girl talent listed as MLB signing prospect'. Print Edition | Subscribe