A 16 year old French girl might be the first female major league baseball player

At first I thought this story was a hoax - a riff off the famous Sports Illustrated prank where writer George Plimpton ("Paper Lion") gushed in the magazine about Sidd Finch, the wunderkind  who could throw the ball 168 MPH. People believed that hoax for 15 days until Sports Illustrated came out with the truth. (The date of publication for the article was April 1).

Now comes a story about a 16 year old French girl, Melissa Mayeux, who just became the first female player added to Major League Baseball's international registration list, making her eligible to sign a contract with a major league team. 

Reuters:

Prospects typically are placed on the international list at Major League Baseball-sanctioned events after verifying their dates of birth and citizenship. While anyone can be placed on the list, only those who have the potential to be signed are generally registered.

"Personally I still can't believe it," Mayeux said via telephone from the Czech Republic, where she was representing France in the Under-18 European championship.

"All that's happening is a result of my name being put on that list. For now, (my life) is a bit complicated," she added with a laugh.

Steve Finley, a two-time All-Star who played 19 years in the major leagues, has worked with Mayeux in MLB-sponsored camps in Europe. He said that while it's premature and unreasonable to predict Mayeux will be the first woman to suit up in the big leagues, the fact that she was even put on the list shows how much promise she holds.

"It's unfair for anyone to get that label," Finley said. "She's a girl, playing very well in a male-dominated sport. I tip my hat to her for doing what she's doing. I think it's fantastic. And let me add, she holds her own at the camp."

'INCREDIBLY COACHABLE'

Finley said Mayeux is "incredibly coachable," adding that "she's taken everything we've told her and applied it to her swing."

MLB Director of International Game Development Mike McClellan, who has watched Mayeux play for several years, calls her "a very composed player, someone we say has 'great action.'"

At a tournament near Barcelona in April, McClellan saw her rip a single off a 19-year-old pitcher who was throwing at 91 mph (146 kmh).

"The next at-bat he hits her in the ear-hole of her helmet," McClellan said. "She threw her bat on the ground and stared him down on her way to first. I love that. It was great."

Mayeux, also a member of France's senior national softball team, is following in the footsteps of her 18-year-old brother Dylan, who currently plays for France's under-19 national baseball squad.

She could make France's 25-player roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, an international baseball tournament featuring major league-level players. Or, if big-league clubs choose not to sign her, she could play for an American university.

A video of Melissa in action.

She appears to have nice, soft hands, excellent footwork, and a decent throwing arm in the field. Her hitting needs a lot of work, but at 16, she's not bad.

I would say she could play on a lot of high school teams in the US at the varsity level, and perhaps, eventually, a Division II school, or a good JC team in college if she keep improving.

But she doesn't appear to have the quickness to play in the field even for a minor league team. While it's possible her body will develop further, right now, she is too bottom-heavy to cover any infield position with the kind of range needed to make it. 

There may be some other female players - especailly in Latin America - that could eventually challenge the sex barrier in MLB. But Melissa, bless her heart, isn't one of them.

At first I thought this story was a hoax - a riff off the famous Sports Illustrated prank where writer George Plimpton ("Paper Lion") gushed in the magazine about Sidd Finch, the wunderkind  who could throw the ball 168 MPH. People believed that hoax for 15 days until Sports Illustrated came out with the truth. (The date of publication for the article was April 1).

Now comes a story about a 16 year old French girl, Melissa Mayeux, who just became the first female player added to Major League Baseball's international registration list, making her eligible to sign a contract with a major league team. 

Reuters:

Prospects typically are placed on the international list at Major League Baseball-sanctioned events after verifying their dates of birth and citizenship. While anyone can be placed on the list, only those who have the potential to be signed are generally registered.

"Personally I still can't believe it," Mayeux said via telephone from the Czech Republic, where she was representing France in the Under-18 European championship.

"All that's happening is a result of my name being put on that list. For now, (my life) is a bit complicated," she added with a laugh.

Steve Finley, a two-time All-Star who played 19 years in the major leagues, has worked with Mayeux in MLB-sponsored camps in Europe. He said that while it's premature and unreasonable to predict Mayeux will be the first woman to suit up in the big leagues, the fact that she was even put on the list shows how much promise she holds.

"It's unfair for anyone to get that label," Finley said. "She's a girl, playing very well in a male-dominated sport. I tip my hat to her for doing what she's doing. I think it's fantastic. And let me add, she holds her own at the camp."

'INCREDIBLY COACHABLE'

Finley said Mayeux is "incredibly coachable," adding that "she's taken everything we've told her and applied it to her swing."

MLB Director of International Game Development Mike McClellan, who has watched Mayeux play for several years, calls her "a very composed player, someone we say has 'great action.'"

At a tournament near Barcelona in April, McClellan saw her rip a single off a 19-year-old pitcher who was throwing at 91 mph (146 kmh).

"The next at-bat he hits her in the ear-hole of her helmet," McClellan said. "She threw her bat on the ground and stared him down on her way to first. I love that. It was great."

Mayeux, also a member of France's senior national softball team, is following in the footsteps of her 18-year-old brother Dylan, who currently plays for France's under-19 national baseball squad.

She could make France's 25-player roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, an international baseball tournament featuring major league-level players. Or, if big-league clubs choose not to sign her, she could play for an American university.

A video of Melissa in action.

She appears to have nice, soft hands, excellent footwork, and a decent throwing arm in the field. Her hitting needs a lot of work, but at 16, she's not bad.

I would say she could play on a lot of high school teams in the US at the varsity level, and perhaps, eventually, a Division II school, or a good JC team in college if she keep improving.

But she doesn't appear to have the quickness to play in the field even for a minor league team. While it's possible her body will develop further, right now, she is too bottom-heavy to cover any infield position with the kind of range needed to make it. 

There may be some other female players - especailly in Latin America - that could eventually challenge the sex barrier in MLB. But Melissa, bless her heart, isn't one of them.