First Pitch

First Pitch: It’s Time to Recognize Mark Melancon as an Elite Reliever

First Pitch: It’s Time to Recognize Mark Melancon as an Elite Reliever

Mark Melancon is one of the best relievers in baseball.

That's not just my opinion. It's a statistical fact. Just take a look at the numbers over the last two years. Melancon ranks 7th of 139 relievers in xFIP. If you prefer ERA, he drops down to 8th. He's been an amazing reliever for the Pirates, but he doesn't get the credit he deserves in Pittsburgh.

I'm always baffled by the reactions towards Melancon. It seems that part of the fan base takes him for granted, assuming that he's just doing what any good reliever does. He's set the bar so high that when he actually pitches like a good reliever, instead of an elite reliever, the doom and gloom predictions come out. That's usually from the other part of the fan base that is just waiting for the other shoe to drop, then predicting his...

This content is for Pirates Prospects subscribers only. Subscribers get access to all of our daily articles on the Pirates and their minor league system, with live coverage throughout the system on a daily basis. Our lowest rates are $2.22 per month under our Top Prospect Plan, which also gets you a FREE copy of the 2016 Prospect Guide. Subscribe today to access all of our daily coverage of the Pirates' system.

If you're already a member, you can log in below. If you think you're receiving this message in error, please e-mail

First Pitch

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

More in First Pitch

(Photo Credit: David Hague)

First Pitch: Pirates First Base Depth Could Lead to an Interesting Off-Season

Tim WilliamsOctober 21, 2016
(Photo Credit: David Hague)

First Pitch: Closer By Committee Approach Would Work Best For the Pirates in 2017

Tim WilliamsOctober 20, 2016
Braeden Ogle TW 82016

First Pitch: The First Impressions of the Pirates’ 2016 Draft Class

Tim WilliamsOctober 19, 2016
(Photo Credit: David Hague)

First Pitch: Pirates Need to Find the Next Mark Melancon This Off-Season

Tim WilliamsOctober 18, 2016
Volquez's best season came in 2008, when he won 17 games and struck out 206 batters. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

First Pitch: Analyzing Some of the Best Starting Pitchers on the Off-Season Market

Tim WilliamsOctober 14, 2016

First Pitch: Pitching is the Strength For the Pirates in the Lower Levels

Tim WilliamsOctober 13, 2016

Pirates Prospects is an independent media outlet, and is in no way affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates, their minor league affiliates, Major League Baseball, or Minor League Baseball.

Copyright © 2016 Pirates Prospects