Melancon pitching for the Washington Nationals in 2016
|Washington Nationals – No. 43|
March 28, 1985 |
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
|April 26, 2009, for the New York Yankees|
(through August 20, 2016)
|Earned run average||2.62|
|Career highlights and awards|
Mark David Melancon (// mə-LAN-sən; born March 28, 1985) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, and Pittsburgh Pirates. Melancon was an MLB All-Star in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Melancon was born in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and attended Golden High School, where he lettered all four years in baseball and basketball and three times in football. He was also named to several All-State teams in these three sports. He was also a member of the National Honor Society.
As a member of the Arizona Wildcats baseball team, Melancon appeared in 29 games (a single-season freshman record) and played in 5 post-season games. He pitched in 10 games for the United States national baseball team that summer. In his sophomore year he worked as a closing pitcher, achieving 11 saves (a single-season record) in 34 appearances. He played a shortened season in 2006 due to a strained elbow ligament, and had a college career total of 18 saves.
Draft and minor leagues
Melancon was drafted by the New York Yankees in the ninth round of the 2006 Major League Baseball draft. Melancon pitched for the Staten Island Yankees of the Class A-Short Season New York–Penn League in 2006. He missed the entire 2007 season after having Tommy John surgery in October 2006.
In 2008 he pitched for three of the Yankees minor league affiliates: the Single-A Tampa Yankees, Double-A Trenton Thunder and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, going 8–1 with a 2.27 ERA in 41 relief appearances, holding batters to a .202 batting average. Following the season, Baseball America rated him the organization's ninth best prospect.
New York Yankees (2009–2010)
Melancon was called up to the majors for the first time on April 25, 2009. He made his major league debut as a relief pitcher against the Boston Red Sox on April 26, pitching two scoreless innings. He was optioned back to Triple-A on May 8, and recalled on July 9. Melancon played in 13 games with an 0–1 record and a 3.86 ERA during his time in the Majors in 2009. Although he was not on the 25-man active roster for the postseason, he got his first World Series ring as the Yankees won the World Series over the Phillies.
Melancon started the 2010 season in the minors and made 2 appearances in the Majors accumulating an ERA of 9.00 in 2 relief appearances with the Yankees.
Houston Astros (2010–2011)
Melancon was traded along with Jimmy Paredes to the Houston Astros for Lance Berkman on July 31, 2010. For the rest of 2010 with the Astros, Melancon went 2–0 with a 3.12 ERA in 20 relief appearances. Overall in 2010 combined with two teams, Melancon made 22 total appearances going 2–0 with a 4.22 ERA.
In 2011, Melancon experienced more playing time in the Majors as he appeared in 71 games with an 8–4 record, 20 saves, and a 2.78 ERA.
Boston Red Sox (2012)
On December 14, 2011, Melancon was traded to the Boston Red Sox for infielder Jed Lowrie and starter Kyle Weiland. After only his first four appearances in 2012, where his ERA was 49.50, Melancon was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on April 18, the day after he gave up six runs, including three home runs, without recording an out against the Texas Rangers. Melancon was recalled June 10 after an injury to Rich Hill. During his time in the Majors with the Red Sox in 2012, Melancon finished the season 0–2 and a 6.20 ERA and 1 save in 41 appearances.
Pittsburgh Pirates (2013–2016)
Melancon began the 2013 season as a setup reliever, with Jason Grilli as the closer. He was selected as an All Star as a setup man in 2013, the first selection of his career. After Grilli went on the disabled list, Melancon was named the acting closer for the Pirates. Melancon had a 1.39 ERA, a 3–2 record, and 16 saves. In Game 3 of the 2013 National League Division Series, Melancon got his first career postseason win, but the Pirates lost the series to the St. Louis Cardinals after a deciding five games.
Melancon avoided arbitration with the Pirates by signing a one-year contract worth $2.95 million for the 2014 season. He started the 2014 season as the Pirates setup reliever. He served as a closer for two weeks while Grilli was on the disabled list. However, Melancon was named the Pirates new permanent closer after Grilli was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in June 2014. Melancon finished his 2014 campaign posting a 3–5 record with a 1.90 ERA and converting 33 saves in 37 opportunities.
The Pirates agreed to pay Melancon $5.4 million for the 2015 season. Starting the 2015 season as the Pirates' closer, Melancon was named an All Star for the second time in his career, and his first as a closer. He recorded his 100th career save against the Kansas City Royals and surpassed Mike Williams to become the all-time Pirates single-season saves leader, recording his 47th of the season on September 19. He finished the season with a league-leading 51 saves and won the 2015 National League Reliever of the Year Award after the season.
Melancon and the Pirates agreed to a $9.65 million salary for the 2016 season, his final year of arbitration eligibility. Melancon was named to the National League's 2016 All-Star roster, his second straight All-Star appearance and his third overall.
On July 30, 2016, the Pirates traded Melancon to the Washington Nationals for Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn. He secured his first save as a National on August 7 against the San Francisco Giants.
Melancon is a control pitcher with a low-90s cut fastball and a high-70s to low-80s knuckle curve, a less common four seam fastball in the low-90s and a rare changeup, which enable him to produce many ground balls.
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