Sep 22, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcherMark Melancon
(35) pitches in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Melancon came over to the Pirates in the Brock Hold/Joel Hanrahan trade prior to the 2013 season and has been a rock for the Pirates almost form Day one. A lot of that reliability has to do with his knuckle-curve. Let’s take a look at how this pitch rates by our criteria:
|O-Swing %||O-contact %||SwStr%||Ground ball rate||Fly Ball Rate|
Melancon makes his money with his cut-fastball, but also knows that if he wants to get batters to chase, the curveball is his best friend. Getting batters to chase and swing at above-average rates will do that. When batters do chase, they often leave it on the carpet, and rarely get it in the air. Not pictured is a line drive rate of 34%, which you live with if you get people to chase it half of the time.
Our next shark tied for the most appearances by a reliever in 2014, and rightfully so.
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