Full Name: Mark David Melancon
Born: March 28th, 1985
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 215 lb.
Mark Melancon was drafted by the New York Yankees in the ninth round of the 2006 Draft. Melancon, University of Arizona product, remained with the Bronx Bombers until the trade deadline of 2010, when he was shipped to Houston with Jimmy Paredes in exchange for Lance Berkman. He was strong in the closer role for the Astros in 2011, as he finished the year with 20 saves and a 2.78 ERA in 74.1 innings. After his solid 2011 campaign, Melancon was dealt to Boston for shortstop Jed Lowrie and pitcher Kyle Weiland. A brutal April and rocky relationship with controversial manager Bobby Valentine led to a rough 2012 season. He posted a 6.20 ERA and allowed eight home runs for the Sox, but finished the year strong, allowing just one earned run in his last eight appearances. Melancon now comes to Pittsburgh along with Jerry Sands, Stolmy Pimentel, and Ivan De Jesus, as Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt head to Beantown.
A quick scouting report via Pirates Prospects:
“He throws a four-seamer and a cutter, both of which average around 93 and top out at 95-96. The curve remains his best pitch and he occasionally throws a change. He’s a strong groundball pitcher, with a 53.8% groundball rate for his career. He’s been better against right-handed batters than left-handed, holding the former to a 226/293/336 line while the latter have hit 250/342/402 against him. He throws with a high-effort delivery that’s led to elbow issues.”
A couple videos…
Melancon making a slick play against former Bucco Jose Bautista:
A tough play to retire Hanley Ramirez:
Retiring Robinson Cano to get out of a bases-loaded jam:
Melancon is an intriguing piece of the Hanrahan trade, despite a difficult season with the Red Sox. There are a few positives to take out of his 2012 season, notably his strong September. In eight appearances that month, he surrendered just one run, one walk, and four hits, while striking out 13 and posting an ERA of 0.90. Peter Gammons, Buster Olney, and Boston beat writer Pete Abraham all believe Melancon will bounce back in Pittsburgh:
Melancon, who turns 28 in March, will be a crucial part of the Bucs bullpen. The departure of Hanrahan moves recently re-signed Jason Grilli into the closer position. Melancon should slide into the setup role, with Jared Hughes and Tony Watson providing middle relief. Bill James projects him to post a 3.47 ERA and an 8.53 K/9 in 57 innings next year. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do for the Buccos in 2013. He is still pre-arbitration eligible which is good for the cost-conscious Pirates, and he’s under team control through the 2016 season.