Tony Watson Headshot

Watson allowed a hit and a walk while striking out a batter during a scoreless ninth inning to record his sixth save of the season Sunday against the Yankees.

Added Yesterday 9:18 am (EST)
While a few more strikeouts would be nice (5.6 K/9), Watson sports a 1.13 ERA and is second in the National League in saves. There are some underlying concerns, though. Watson's 1.63 WHIP and 6.27 FIP suggest the lefty has likely been a little fortunate to start the campaign. Still, he's probably tightened his grip on the closing gig by converting all six of his save opportunities.
Tony Watson Headshot

Watson pitched a scoreless ninth inning while allowing two hits to earn his fifth save Friday against the Yankees.

Added 04/21/17 10:55 pm (EST)
Watson was in a fairly low-pressure situation, as the Pirates gave him the ball with a three-run lead, and although he gave up a pair of hits, he had little trouble closing out the contest. He's converted each of his five save opportunities the season, and he's only allowed a single run in seven outings, as he remains a solid fantasy option in the closer role.
Tony Watson Headshot

Watson registered his fourth save of the year Saturday, allowing one run on one hit and a walk in one inning against the Cubs.

Added 04/15/17 6:58 pm (EST)
Watson surrendered a Kris Bryant homer and then put the tying run on base with a walk, but he eventually got the job done. Given that he's retired the side in order in only five of his 24 saves, owners might want to buckle their seats for a roller-coaster ride. Watson is in his final season before free agency, making him a likely trade candidate. In the meantime, Pittsburgh will likely continue counting on him.
Tony Watson Headshot

Watson escaped a bases-loaded jam without allowing a run to record his third save of the season in Friday's 4-2 win over the Cubs.

Added 04/14/17 6:20 pm (EST)
While the box score indicates a relatively tidy outing for Watson, it was actually much more nerve-wracking than that. He got the first two batters he faced but proceeded to load the bases on a walk, an error by David Freese and a hit batsman. Watson then got Ben Zobrist to ground out to end the game, avoiding what could have been a troublesome afternoon. He has not allowed a run through five appearances and is now a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities.
Tony Watson Headshot

Watson notched his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning Friday against the Braves.

Added 04/07/17 5:40 pm (EST)
Watson was able to protect a one-run lead without allowing a baserunner. Even though he wasn't an efficient closer in his two-month stint to finish the 2016 season, he's been effective in two outings to start the season, and he's expected to hold down his role for the foreseeable future, making him a valuable source of saves.
Tony Watson Headshot

Watson remains the Pirates' closer despite his recent struggles, GM Neal Huntington told SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio on Wednesday. "Watson has been one of the best performing relievers in baseball," Huntington said. "We're comfortable with him pitching in the ninth."

Added 03/22/17 3:30 pm (EST)
This vote of confidence is encouraging, coming on the heels of Watson's five-run blowup Sunday -- he recorded just two outs. Overall, Watson has given up eight runs on eight hits with a 6:3 K:BB this spring. The lefty's skills slipped again last season, with his 4.37 FIP suggesting he overachieved to a significant extent with a 3.06 ERA, but the Pirates seem to be content at the back end for the time being given Watson's larger body of work. Daniel Hudson is believed to be next in line for save chances in Pittsburgh.
Tony Watson Headshot

Watson allowed five runs on three hits and two walks Sunday. He retired only two batters, striking out one, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. "The overall execution (was lacking), and the balls were elevated," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Without having the consistency of keeping the ball down, it was a challenge for him."

Added 03/19/17 10:29 pm (EST)
Watson enters 2017 as the undisputed closer with Pittsburgh, but he's followed up a mediocre showing as the team's closer late in 2016 with a shaky camp. In 4.3 innings, Watson has allowed eight runs on eight hits (16.62 ERA) with three walks and six strikeouts. The team would likely look to Daniel Hudson and Felipe Rivero should Watson's struggles carry over into the regular season.
Tony Watson Headshot

The Pirates will monitor Watson's workload in spring training as he enters the season as the team's closer, DK Pittsburgh Sports reports.

Added 03/01/17 10:54 am (EST)
Manager Clint Hurdle is focused more on Watson's usage than his new ninth-inning role. The lefty has averaged a league-high 72 appearances over the last five seasons. "I've seen pitchers who may not be as mentally comfortable in some innings as others," Hurdle said. "I don't believe that's the case with Watson. I believe last year it was the volume of work that caught up to him. It just got to be a heavy load." Watson, who lost his recent arbitration case, will become a free agent following 2017. Accordingly, the potential trade candidate has plenty of incentive to pitch well this summer.
Daniel Hudson Headshot

Hudson will serve as Pittsburgh's closer on days Tony Watson is unable to close, CBS Pittsburgh reports.

Added 02/23/17 10:40 pm (EST)
Pirates GM Neal Huntington announced the team's pecking order for saves, listing Watson first and then Hudson and Felipe Rivero. Huntington typically doesn't permit his relievers to pitch three straight days, giving Hudson the chance to potentially close after Watson has thrown in back-to-back calendar days. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Pirates move Watson (who will become a free agent after 2017) at the trade deadline, freeing up Hudson to close in the second half of the season.
Tony Watson Headshot

Watson lost his salary arbitration case against the Pirates, and he'll make $5.6 million this season instead of his requested $6 million, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Added 02/16/17 11:38 am (EST)
Watson saved 15 games and posted a 3.06 ERA last year, taking over the closer role after Pittsburgh traded Mark Melancon. He's set to occupy the same role heading into 2017 and could wind up a productive fantasy value pick, though he falls a bit short with strikeouts compared to most stoppers. Daniel Hudson and Felipe Rivero may earn consideration for save opportunities if he struggles.
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