Team USA is on their way to the Semifinal round of the WBC, and will be facing Team Japan on Tuesday. The U.S. bullpen will be looking tough, as San Francisco Giants newcomer Mark Melancon has joined the team.
It looks like Team USA will now feature three members of the San Francisco Giants squad. Melancon will be joining teammates Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford as the U.S. gears up to face Japan in the WBC semifinal. This late round addition is a smart move by USA manager Jim Leyland, as Melancon has been one of the top 5 relievers in baseball over the past four seasons. Team USA may be on the verge of winning their first World Baseball Classic championship, and they will have earned it.
On Saturday, we witnessed a thrilling victory for USA over reigning-champion Dominican Republic. The momentum is now surely in our favor, especially considering Team Japan will have gone 6 days without playing. Melancon will be playing in his first WBC tournament, but wanted prioritize the Giants first.
“I really wanted to go. I just didn’t feel like [initially] it was appropriate given the time frame and signing here.” – Melancon (per Chris Haft of MLB.com)
As fun as the WBC is to watch, Melancon did the right thing. He just signed with the Giants for 4 years and $62 million, so they should be his priority. Now that there are just a couple of games left, Melancon isn’t likely to throw more than 2-3 innings. The risk of an injury is at a minimum for him, and he’ll be united with his batterymate Buster Posey.
Melancon, of course, is one of the game’s best closers. Last season he recorded a 1.64 ERA, giving up just 0.38 HR/9 with 47 saves in 71.1 innings. That was no fluke season though. Since 2013 he’s posted a 1.80 ERA with 147 saves, a ridiculous 0.31 HR/9, and 268 strikeouts in 290.0 innings. His 7.9 fWAR in that span ranks 4th, behind Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Dellin Betances.