He went 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA (18 ER) and 67 strikeouts in 59.2 innings in 2012, and finished fifth in the NL with both 36 saves and a 90.0 percent save rate (40 chances). Hanrahan also held opponents to a .187 average this past season, sixth-best among qualifying National League relievers, and he did not allow an inherited runner to score all year.
In 2011, Hanrahan was given the Roberto Clemente Award by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America as the Pirates’ most valuable player. That year, he ranked fourth among NL relievers with a 1.83 ERA (14 ER/68.2 IP) in 70 appearances and collected 40 saves.
Hanrahan has posted a 2.59 ERA (66 ER/229.1 IP) with 265 strikeouts in 238 relief appearances since being traded to Pittsburgh on June 30, 2009. In that time, his ERA leads all Major League closers with at least 200.0 innings pitched. Among all hurlers with at least 225.0 innings of work since that trade, Hanrahan ranks fourth in ERA and fifth in strikeouts per 9.0 innings (10.4).
Since becoming a full-time reliever in 2008, Hanrahan has fanned 393 batters in 346.1 innings for an average of 10.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings, third-best among NL relievers with at least 250.0 innings in the last five years. Only Carlos Marmol has a higher strikeout rate while pitching at least as many innings out of the bullpen since 2008 (12.6).
Hanrahan was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second round of the 2000 June Draft out of Norwalk (IA) Community High School. He began his professional career with seven seasons in the Dodgers farm system before making his big league debut with Washington in 2007 after signing with the Nationals as a free agent after the 2006 campaign. On June 30, 2009, he was sent to Pittsburgh from Washington with outfielder Lastings Milledge in exchange for outfielder Nyjer Morgan and pitcher Sean Burnett.
Over his six-year Major League career with the Nationals (2007-09) and Pirates (2009-12), he has logged 436 strikeouts in 397.1 innings while compiling a 22-17 record with 96 saves and a 3.74 ERA (165 ER). He has made 342 consecutive relief appearances after beginning his career with 11 starts in 2007.
Hanrahan was the Nationals’ nominee for MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award in 2008, when he began a partnership with the American Red Cross to raise awareness and funds for the organization’s disaster relief efforts on the heels of devastating floods in the Midwest.
Holt, 24, was selected by Pittsburgh in the ninth round of the 2009 June Draft and made his Major League debut with the Pirates in September, hitting .292 (19-for-65) in 24 games. He spent the majority of 2012 with Double-A Altoona and led the Eastern League with a .322 average (123-for-382) and was the fifth-hardest player to strike out (8.47 PA/SO). He also saw his first Triple-A action and batted .432 (41-for-95) in 24 games with Indianapolis.
Holt earned mid- and post-season Eastern League All-Star honors this past season. He has been named to the his league’s mid-season All-Star team in each of four seasons in professional ball, including 2011 in the Eastern League, 2010 in the Florida State League, and 2009 in the New York-Penn League.
In 371 minor league games over four seasons in the Pirates system, Holt has hit .317 (455-for-1,436) with 87 doubles, 19 triples, 11 home runs, 150 RBI, 203 runs, and 49 stolen bases. While in the minors, he has split time at shortstop (232 games) and second base (130).
Melancon, 27, made 41 relief appearances for the Red Sox in 2012, posting a 6.20 ERA (31 ER/45.0 IP) with 41 strikeouts compared to 12 walks while going 0-2 with one save. Acquired by Boston from Houston in exchange for infielder Jed Lowrie and right-hander Kyle Weiland on December 14, 2011, he also made 21 relief appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket last year and tallied a 0.83 ERA (2 ER/21.2 IP) while collecting 11 saves. Originally selected by the Yankees in the ninth round of the 2006 June Draft, Melancon has gone 10-7 with 21 saves, a 4.07 ERA (71 ER/157.0 IP), 139 strikeouts, 56 walks, and a .239 opponent average in 147 career Major League games, all in relief, with the Yankees (2009-10), Astros (2010-11), and Red Sox (2012).
Pimentel, 22, went 6-7 with a 4.59 ERA (59 ER/115.2 IP), 86 strikeouts and 42 walks in a team-high 22 starts for Double-A Portland in 2012. After the season, he pitched in eight games (6 starts) for Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican Winter League. Signed by Boston as an international free agent in July of 2006, Pimentel owns a 39-41 career record with a 4.37 ERA (286 ER/589.0 IP), 477 strikeouts, and 191 walks in 125 minor league games (120 starts) over six seasons in the Red Sox system.
The 25-year-old De Jesus was acquired from the Dodgers in a nine-player trade on August 25. He played in a career-high 31 Major League games between Los Angeles and Boston in 2012, including eight with the Red Sox in September, and made appearances at second base (12 games, 4 starts), third base (6 games, 1 start) and shortstop (1 game). He went 9-for-41 (.220) between the two stops with four RBI and five runs. De Jesus also combined to hit .304 (76-for-250) with 13 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 33 RBI and 37 runs scored in 67 Triple-A games between the Dodgers’ Albuquerque affiliate and Pawtucket last season. He was designated for assignment on November 20 and outrighted to Pawtucket on November 26. A second-round pick of Los Angeles in the 2005 June Draft, De Jesus made his Major League debut with the Dodgers in 2011 and has hit .205 (15-for-73) with three doubles, five RBI and seven runs over 48 career Major League games.
Sands, 25, was acquired from the Dodgers on October 4 along with right-hander Rubby De La Rosa to complete the August 25 nine-player trade. He earned Pacific Coast League Post-Season All-Star honors in 2012 after leading all Triple-A batters with 107 RBI in 119 games for Los Angeles’ Triple-A Albuquerque club. He finished third in the PCL with 26 home runs while tallying a .296 average (134-for-452) with 17 doubles, four triples, 84 runs and 59 walks. In five postseason contests for the Isotopes, he hit .381 (8-for-21) with a double, homer and seven RBI. Sands also appeared in nine Major League games over two stints with the Dodgers this past season and has hit .244 (54-for-221) with 17 doubles, four homers, 27 RBI, 22 runs and 26 walks in 70 career big league tilts with Los Angeles over the last two years. Selected by the Dodgers in the 25th round of the 2008 June Draft, he owns a career .289 average (502-for-1,737) with 119 home runs and 379 RBI in 469 minor league games.