Mark Melancon is having a superb season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Is he having an All-Star caliber season? You’re darn right he is. Melancon has been added to the National League All-Star team as an injury replacement, joining Jeff Locke, Pedro Alvarez, Jason Grilli and Andrew McCutchen to make five Pirates in the All-Star game.
While Melancon is having a phenomenal season, I am still a bit surprised that he was added to the All-Star team because he isn’t in a glamorous role on the Pirates. Being a set-up man in the bullpen can be tough; no one notices the set-up man because he is just the bridge to the closer. Quite frankly, it is easy to be overlooked in the Pirates’ outstanding bullpen.
No one can question the success Melancon is having in the eighth inning role for the Pirates; his numbers are mind-blowing. In 44.1 innings, Melancon ranks second among NL relievers in WHIP (0.79). He ranks fourth with a 92.5 strand rate, second with 11.5 strikeouts per walk and eighth with a 27 percent strikeout rate. Oh, and his 0.81 ERA ranks first among relievers. He and closer Grilli rank first and second in WAR among relief pitchers, respectively.
Melancon was acquired by the Pirates along with Jerry Sands, Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Stolmy Pimentel from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Brock Holt and Joel Hanrahan. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has apparently already discussed the availability of Grilli and Melancon for the All-Star game with NL manager Bruce Bochy, and it doesn’t appear there will be any issues concerning that.