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 said that he feels where he wants to be physically heading into spring training, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Melancon threw a bullpen session Tuesday and reportedly felt great physically afterwards. He mentioned that he normally feels a "slowness" when beginning spring training but that was not the case this year. This is good news for both the Giants -- who recently signed their new closer to four-year deal this offseason -- and fantasy owners hoping for another solid season from one of the game's top closing options.
Melancon has agreed to a contract with the Giants, ESPN's Buster Olney reports. The deal is still pending a physical, but barring any hiccups, Melancon is on the move from the East Coast to the West Coast. He is primed to take over as the Giants' closer, a role they had a difficult time filling effectively at the end of the previous campaign. Melancon is coming off arguably the best season of his career, one which saw him post a 1.64 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 65:12 K:BB over 75 appearances with the Pirates and Nationals.
Melancon gave up a hit and struck out one in a scoreless ninth inning Sunday to pick up the save in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Dodgers. It was Melancon's first career postseason save, as he and the rest of the Nationals' bullpen combined for 4.2 shutout innings in a 5-2 win. After a strong finish to the regular season in a Washington uniform, there's no reason to suspect Melancon will wilt under the playoff spotlight.
Melancon gave up a hit in a scoreless ninth inning Sunday to pick up his 47th save of the season in a win over the Marlins. He fell four saves shy of matching last year's career high, but Melancon still enjoyed a tremendous regular season split between Washington and Pittsburgh, posting a 1.64 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 65:12 K:BB in 71.1 innings. The Nats will look for him to anchor their bullpen as they attempt to make the first deep playoff run in franchise history.
Melancon recorded the final two outs of Thursday's game against Arizona to earn his 45th save of the season. Reynaldo Lopez made it a save situation by allowing a two-run homer to Socrates Brito in the ninth. Melancon was called upon and nailed down the win, recording the final two outs on a total of 10 pitches. He is now 14-for-15 in save opportunities since joining Washington and has converted 45 of 49 chances on the year. The right-hander appears headed for a big payday this winter.