Mark Melancon has thrown three innings this year, and already there is concern about his future in the closer role. It’s not so much the numbers, which are largely inflated due to an incredibly small sample size. Instead, it’s about his velocity, which has dropped early in the 2015 season.
Melancon was averaging 92.5 MPH with his fastball last year, and 91.8 MPH with his cutter. He has been at 89.6 MPH so far this year with the fastball, and 88.7 MPH with the cutter. That’s a 3 MPH drop on each pitch.
“I haven’t even noticed,” Melancon said when I asked him about the velocity drop. He added that he felt fine, and didn’t make any changes to the way he has been throwing.
Melancon has been mostly working with the cutter this year, laying off the fastball, according to Pitch F/X records. However, those might be inaccurate, as he said he’s not throwing his pitches any different than he has in previous years
Clint Hurdle said on Tuesday that the club would monitor Melancon, and watch his velocity going forward. This could just be an early season issue, as it has been just three innings. For now, monitoring the situation seems to be the best approach to take.