The Pittsburgh Pirates have an interesting situation on the horizon. The team has been doing well with Mark Melancon taking over the closer position. However, with main closer Jason Grilli close to returning, fantasy owners need to know which player to hold onto when the time comes.
Grilli appeared in eight games before hitting the DL. In those eight games, he recorded four saves and only seven strikeouts while posting a 4.50 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. In the month of May as the closer, Melancon has a 3.86 ERA with five saves. Melancon’s appearances as a middle relief guy helped lower his ERA to 2.37 and WHIP to 1.00.
Melancon’s last outing raised eyebrows as he allowed two hits, two walks and two earned runs in just 0.2 IP and blew the save. He has two blown saves on the season. In 19 total innings, he has just 12 strikeouts. Grilli has seven strikeouts in eight innings. He also blew three saves, including two in a row before hitting the DL.
Melancon took over for Grilli in 2013 and pitched much better, too. Melancon had a 1.39 ERA in 71.0 IP while Grilli posted a 2.70 ERA in just 50 innings. Those fantasy owners who have Melancon should hold onto him because of Grilli’s past injury issues. He is still available in 15 percent of leagues. That could jump if Grilli doesn’t get his job back.
If Grilli can’t pitch in back-to-back games once off the DL, then Melancon’s odds of remaining the closer greatly increase.