Mark Melancon was once again dominant in 2016, and while his strikeout rate is no longer above 9.0 per nine innings, his elite cutter produces as much weak contact and as many easy outs as any pitch in the majors. He hasn't allowed a BABIP above .275 in three seasons, and a HR/9 rate above 0.47 in four. The 32-year-old right-hander didn't miss a beat after being dealt to the Nationals at the deadline, and his 98 saves over the last two seasons lead the majors. The Giants signed him to a four-year contract in the offseason, and while his lack of an overpowering fastball does cause him to get overlooked when the league's best closers get named, Melancon's track record of success is a match for anyone's. Expect him to continue his exceptional run in San Francisco.
Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth inning with one hit allowed and a strikeout to record his fourth save of the season during Monday's win over the Dodgers. Since a poor outing on Opening Day (four hits and two runs allowed), Melancon has now strung together five scoreless innings over five appearances with six strikeouts and four saves. After the bullpen struggles the Giants endured in 2016, Melancon's job is probably one of the more secure among his ninth-inning peers, and San Francisco forked over big money for his services for a reason. With a 1.96 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over the past four seasons, he's also proven to be one of the more reliable fantasy closers.
Melancon gave up two hits but struck out the side in the 11th inning Tuesday to record his third save of the season in a 2-1 win over the Royals. His 3.86 ERA and 1.93 WHIP still carry the weight of his blowup back on Opening Day, but Melancon's now tossed four consecutive scoreless appearances while converting three straight saves. The 32-year-old has four straight seasons with a sub-1.00 WHIP coming into 2017, so expect those ratios to improve as the campaign progresses.
Melancon allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth inning to collect his second save of the season during Monday's 4-1 win over the Diamondbacks. The veteran closer was roughed up in his first outing of the season, but he's now bounced back with consecutive saves. However, he's allowed seven baserunners (six hits and a walk) through three appearances, so he's been far from efficient. Melancon has also only fanned one batter. He's in position to pile up saves for the Giants, but he might continue to underwhelm in the other categories.
Melancon gave up one hit while walking one in his inning of work to earn his first save of the year in Sunday's 5-3 win over the Padres. Things were a little dicey for Melancon after a one-out hit to Manuel Margot and a walk to Travis Jankowski, but he was able to induce a game-ending double-play groundout from Wil Myers to seal the deal. Because of the Giants' slow start to the year, it was only Melancon's second appearance since his Opening Day blown save. He's been uncharacteristically shaky so far, but Melancon isn't going anywhere and should be one of the more reliable closers in 2017 for a contending club.
Melancon blew a save and took the loss in Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Diamondbacks, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out one and recording just two outs. Melancon entered with a one-run lead and retired the first two batters he faced, but he proceeded to allow the next four men to reach base as Arizona plated a pair for a walkoff win. Big things were expected from the veteran after he was acquired during the offseason, and despite this inauspicious start to his run with the Giants, he should bounce back in no time.