Pittsburgh Pirates: Revisiting Mark Melancon’s 2013 Season

Mark Melancon is arguably the best relief pitcher the Pittsburgh Pirates have ever had, and his Pirate career started with a lights out 2013 season

The 2013 season was a magical one for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The high water mark of that season was their National League Wild Card Game victory over the Cincinnati Reds. A big part of the team’s success in 2013 was reliever Mark Melancon.

In December 2012 the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Melancon from the Boston Red Sox in a trade many fans were not found of. The Pittsburgh Pirates sent all-star closer Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox, along with utility man Brock Holt, in exchange for Melancon, INF/OF Jerry Sands, utility infielder Ivan DeJsus Jr., and pitching prospect Stolmy Pimentel.

Quickly, Melancon stepped up as the key piece of this trade. Shortly after arriving in Pittsburgh, Melancon showed why the Red Sox had once traded away a hefty package to acquire him from the Houston Astros.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013, Melancon pitched a work horse 71 innings in 72 games. He posted a 1.39 ERA, 1.64 FIP and recorded 16 saves while clsoer Jason Grilli was out with a forearm injury.

2013 saw Melancon post a 2.5 fWAR. This is still the highest fWAR of Melancon’s career. This went along with an career-best ERA and FIP, as well as a career-best 2.9% walk rate and 0.13 HR/9.

Melancon’s 2.5 fWAR was the third highest in all of MLB in 2013. Among relievers with at least 40 innings pitched, his ERA was the sixth lowest in MLB while his FIP was the third lowest. All of this went along with a healthy 25.1% strikeout rate.

During the 2013 season the Pittsburgh Pirates played, at most, 6 innings games. Melancon, along with Grilli and Tony Watson, were big reasons for this. Melancon also helped to create the famed Pittsburgh ‘Shark Tank’ bullpen on the way to the team reaching the postseason for the first time in 20 years.

In the 2013 postseason, Melancon pitched 3.2 innings. Surprisingly, Melancon would sturggle. He allowed 4 runs on five hits, two home runs, a walk, and just two strikeouts. This, however, did not take away from the excellent 2013 season that Melancon had.