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San Francisco Giants: Should Melancon Stay in Setup Role?

Jake Mastroianni
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 20: Mark Melancon
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 20: Mark Melancon /
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Since coming back from the disabled list, Mark Melancon has been great in a setup role for the San Francisco Giants.

He’s made six appearances since coming back. Melancon hasn’t given up a run in those six innings, while allowing 5 hits and no walks with 7 strikeouts. He also has five holds in those appearances, and his season ERA has gone from 4.15 to 3.38.

Now the San Francisco Giants certainly aren’t going to pay him $53 million over the next three years to be a setup man. However, it may be something the Giants need to consider.

Before becoming a dominant closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals, Melancon was a great setup man.

In 2013 he had a 1.39 ERA and 0.96 WHIP for the Pirates and racked up 26 holds. The following year he had a 1.90 ERA and 0.87 WHIP with 14 holds, but he also recorded 33 saves that year.

He’s been a closer ever since, and his numbers were still really good the following two years before signing with the Giants.

And it’s not like he’s been terrible with the Giants, just not as dominant as he was before.

His career in San Francisco definitely got out to a bad start as he blew a save on Opening Day. Melancon blew another save in April, but had eighth scoreless appearances in between the two.

He only gave up one run in the month of May, but blew back-to-back save opportunities in June. Later that month he ended up on the disabled list.

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During that time Sam Dyson has taken over the closer role and has been great with 12 saves. That’s already more than the 11 Melancon has on the season.

I’m not saying I believe Dyson is the future closer for the Giants. He was so bad with the Rangers early in the year, it’s hard to imagine him sustaining this success.

However, the Giants now have two options for the closer role. We know Melancon is absolutely lights out in the setup role, so as long as Dyson is performing the way he is I see no reason to switch things up this year.

As far as next year, I think you have to use Melancon based on the situation. If the team’s middle of the order is coming up in the eighth I think you use Melancon there.

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I know the Giants don’t want to pay that much for a setup man, but the idea of saves is changing. Sometimes the biggest outs come in the eighth or even seventh inning, and we know Melancon can handle those situations with ease.

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