Tony Watson RP PIT 1 hour ago

Watson struck out two batters in a scoreless eighth inning Wednesday.

He's limited opponents to one run in 25 innings since Opening Day, collecting 10 holds and a save along the way. The Pirates seem satisfied with Mark Melancon closing, but with Melancon making $5.4 million, it's doubtful the team will keep him around next season. At that point, Watson would likely take over closing duties.

Tony Watson RP PIT 2 weeks ago

Watson will likely receive any save opportunity the Bucs might get Tuesday, with Mark Melancon sitting after throwing four times in five days.

Watson threw four times in five days prior to getting Monday off. Since giving up three runs in one inning Opening Day, the southpaw has limited opponents to one earned run in his last 17 appearances (18 innings).

Tony Watson RP PIT 1 month ago

Watson might be in line to serve as Pittsburgh's closer Saturday, considering Mark Melancon pitched in back-to-back games Thursday and Friday.

The team has rested Watson since the southpaw threw 30 pitches Wednesday. He should be good-to-go Saturday in Arizona. The lefty has four holds, one save and a 3.27 ERA in 10 games (11 IP) thus far in 2015.

Tony Watson RP PIT 1 month ago

Watson pitched two shutout innings Wednesday against the Cubs, working around a hit while striking out one for his first save of the year.

Regular closer Mark Melancon has been struggling and his velocity is down, which has unexpectedly opened the door for Watson, who's been absolutely terrific since his Opening Day disaster. He's now a priority fantasy pickup, given the possibility that he could wrest the ninth-inning role away from Melancon.

Tony Watson RP PIT 1 month ago

Watson has strung together four scoreless outings since surrendering three runs on Opening Day.

Pittsburgh's top set-up man could receive a bump in fantasy value if closer Mark Melancon is found to be dealing with some sort of injury -- Melancon's velocity has been off in the early going. The Pirates haven't said that anything is physically wrong with their current stopper, but it's something to keep an eye on.

Tony Watson RP PIT 2 months ago

Watson had a rare bad outing Monday in the season opener against the Reds, giving up a three-run homer to Todd Frazier to pick up the loss.

Last year, Watson had just two three-run outings, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. There will be better days, though as a short-inning reliever this will leave a mark for a while.

Tony Watson RP PIT 2 months ago

One scout believes Watson is ready to close at the major-league level. "For some clubs, he could be a closer right now," the scout told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "There's been very few left-handed closers, though. Baltimore's got (Zach) Britton and the Reds have (Aroldis) Chapman. Not many lefties have done it, but Watson could. He's got closer's stuff. He can strike you out."

Watson collected 34 holds and compiled a career-best 9.4 K/9 IP in 2014. Mark Melancon is the clear-cut closer for Pittsburgh but Watson is right behind him in the pecking order.

Tony Watson RP PIT 2 months ago

Watson, who has struck out seven in five scoreless spring innings, projects as Pittsburgh's primary set-up man once again in 2015.

Armed with an electric fastball (94.4 mph) and slider, the lefty gives Pittsburgh a solid late-inning reliever's duo with Mark Melancon. It's probable that save opportunities fall to him if anything happens to Melancon, but manager Clint Hurdle said last summer that he could continue using Watson in high-leverage spots with someone else getting the final three outs. The southpaw, who is working on a tighter-breaking slider this spring, has outpitched his FIP (3.39) with a better earned-run average (2.63) in each of his four big-league seasons.

Tony Watson RP PIT 4 months ago

Watson agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Pirates on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Tom Singer of MLB.com reports.

Watson seamlessly transitioned into the eighth-inning role after Mark Melancon took over as the Pirates' closer for good in June, finishing with a 1.63 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 34 holds, second most in all of baseball. He'll receive a nice raise in salary in his first year arbitration, and will likely be among the first five setup men off the board in deeper mixed drafts this spring.

Tony Watson RP PIT 6 months ago

Watson was tendered a contract prior to Tuesday's deadline.

The southpaw exceeded expectations early on in 2014, but cooled off a bit in the second half -- perhaps because of over-usage in a faltering bullpen. Watson picked up 10 relief wins, compiling a 1.63 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 77.1 IP. He could slide into a closer's role in 2015 if Mark Melancon gets hurt, though the team likes him as its primary set-up man.