Nation STATion: Nine on Melancon

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Nation STATion: Nine on Melancon

If Mark Melancon becomes the Red Sox closer he will be a very different type of closer than what Red Sox Nation is used to.

Melancon threw 1121 pitches last season and batters hit .234. Off his 461 fastballs, batters hit .317. Off his 299 curveballs they only hit .138, and off his 260 cutters they hit .200. Compare this to Jonathan Papelbon who threw 1001 pitches last season and batters hit .207. Off his 751 fastballs, batters hit .200. Off his 144 splitters they hit .220, and off his 101 sliders they hit .240.

Here are nine more nuggets on Melancon:

1.Mark Melancon was 8-4 last season, 4-2 against teams with less than .500 record, and 4-2 against teams at .500 and above. The big difference however is that his ERA against the less than .500 teams was 1.30, but his ERA against teams .500 and above was 4.68.

2.Melancon pitched in seven interleague games with a 1-1 record and an 8.64 ERA. He went 0-1 against the Sox and allowed one run in one inning on one hit and three walks. He was 1-0 against Texas but had a 5.40 ERA in three games.

3.Melancon appeared in 21 games on no days rest and was effective (2.05 ERA). In his 17 times when pitching on one days rest he had a sterling 1.45 ERA. On two days rest he was less sharp and had a 2.40 ERA. With three days rest he had a 5.91 ERA.

4.With runners in scoring position Melancon held batters to a .197 batting average, RISP w 2 outs batters only hit .189.

5.Righties hit .228 against Melancon with a .581 OPS; lefties hit .243 with a .704 OPS.

6.Melancon became more accustomed to his role as the season progressed. Prior to the All-Star break he had a 3.07 ERA and a .248 Batting Average Against. After the break his ERA was 2.43 with a .215 BAA.

7.Melancon threw 1,121 pitches last season; he had thrown 603 major league pitches in 2009-10 combined.

8.In 2011, batters swung at 45.3 percent of Melancons fastballs and missed on 18.2 percent of them. Melancon is most effective on his curve with batters swinging at 47.2 percent of them and missing on 39.0 percent.

9.When Melancon is pitching effectively he is forcing grounders. He struck out 66 of the 309 hitters he faced and gave up 122 grounders with batters getting 23 hits (.189). Batters were 12-for 43 on fly balls (.279) and 28-for-39 on line drives (.718). He only produced six pop-ups.

You can draw whatever conclusions you like from these numbers, but my feeling is that making him the closer in the AL East is a huge leap from pitching in the desolation and desperation of Houston last season. Melancon feels like a complimentary piece to the bullpen puzzle, but not the solution -- at least at this time. However, I think as a seventh or eighth inning guy, Melancon could shine. I look forward to your comments.

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.