Who Could Get Saves for the Diamondbacks with Mark Melancon Out After Shoulder Injury?

With two weeks before the start of the 2023 MLB season, the Diamondbacks will be without one of their veteran relievers. RHP Mark Melancon, who spent a good chunk of last year as the team’s closer, will be out for an extended period of time due to a shoulder injury. With Melancon out of the picture, a 2022 All-Star and a couple of new faces could be in line for save chances in the early goings of 2023.

Related: With Edwin Diaz Expected to be Out for 2023, Who Can Step in as the Mets Closer?

A Look at Melancon

The 2022 campaign was an interesting one for Diamondbacks reliever Mark Melancon. In total, the 37-year-old posted a 4.66 ERA and just 35 strikeouts over 56 innings. His 14.3% K% marked the lowest of his career in a full MLB season.

Per Statcast, Melancon saw a slight drop in whiffs on his curveball, as well as an almost 100 point difference in opposing batting average. That’s not much of a shock, as the right-hander left it up in zone more than he had in the year prior.

The 37-year-old looked quite impressive to start the year, before he posted a 10.61 ERA over 12 games (9.1 IP) in May. Those figures came after a short stint on the IL.

Melancon will be out for at least a few weeks. D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo indicating earlier this week that the team is counting in “months” as opposed to weeks, when he talked to media members regarding an estimated return time for the reliever.

What it Means

There was no guarantee that Melancon was going to be the closer in 2023. While the four-time All-Star did lead the D-Backs in saves last season, Melancon was pulled from the job in-season. Melancon did state last month that he made some mechanical adjustments to improve himself and try to re-gain the closer’s role, but that will have to wait.

Arizona did add a number of relievers to its core this winter, including Miguel Castro and Andrew Chafin. Not to mention, the Diamondbacks do return All-Star Joe Mantiply, who recorded a sharp 2.85 ERA over 69 appearances (60 IP).

One should expect those three to vie for save opportunities. Arizona did also add Scott McGough after a strong four-year in Japan. He, too, could also be an option for Torey Lovullo.

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