Monday, August 31, 2015

The identical seasons of Mark Melancon and Tony Watson

There is nothing similar about Pirates' relievers Mark Melancon and Tony Watson. Melancon is the righty who throws a cutter and a curve. The cutter sits 90-92 mph and the curve 80-82.  The lefty Watson brings a fastball-change mix, getting about 10-mph separation between his 94-95 mph fastball and 85-86 mph change.

There was real concern about Melancon early in the season as his velocity was down, but that seemed to return mid-late May and he's been dominant since. Watson gave up a 3-run homer on Opening Day and then gave up one run in his next 25 appearances. Together they have formed a formidable duo at the back end of an excellent Pirates bullpen.

There is no confusing Melancon and Watson on the mound, but let's see if you can separate them by the numbers.

Let's start with appearances:

                        Games    Innings

Pitcher A           64           63.0

Pitcher B           63           61.0

Ok, nothing to be gleaned from that. Some more data:

                         Hits     Runs   ER    HR  UIBB  HBP  WP     WHIP    BABip

Pitcher A           50        15      12      3      10        2       3       0.984     .258

Pitcher B           45        15      14      3      11        4       1       0.918     .256

Still nothing here to differentiate the two. How about opponents' triple slash line?

Pitcher A          .220/.264/.295  .560 OPS

Pitcher B          .206/.255/.271  .526 OPS

I'm not sure Ray Searage can tell them apart at this point. ERA, FIP & xFIP ought to clear it up, right?

                        ERA     FIP     xFIP  

Pitcher A          1.71    3.01     3.29      

Pitcher B          2.07    2.73     3.21     

Blown Saves?

Pitcher A            2

Pitcher B            2

Here is your big clue. Time to guess:

                        GB%     SO

Pitcher A         59.3       44

Pitcher B         47.6       54

Yep, I figured that would do it. If it didn't, pitcher A has 43 saves, pitcher B has 1. But you tell me who is better.


  1. Will be interesting to see if Bucs attempt to trade Melancon in the offseason. It's one thing to trade your closer for prospects when you are a 70 win team, another when you are trying to win 100 games.

  2. Yep, for sure. Melancon is going to make $8-9 million in his last year of arbitration.