Top 10 Pittsburgh Pirates of the first half

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Jun 30, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson (44) pitches in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

#8 – Tony Watson

Often times this year, Hughes has handed the ball off to one of the best setup men in the entire league in Tony Watson. The lefty showed last year that he’s a legitimate force in the eighth inning after making the All-Star game and having the best season of his career. Watson’s never been a negative win player, and is having a comparable year to last season with a 2.09 ERA and a minuscule WHIP of 0.93. Neither is the best number of his career, however, which shows just how effective of a relief pitcher he’s been over the course of his career.

What’s been the key to Watson’s continued success this year? For one, he’s thrown 43 strikeouts to just nine walks, which has led to an opponent’s on-base percentage of .251, the best mark of his career. To many, OBP is more important than batting average. The number that stands out the msot about Watson in 2015 has to be the OPS batters’ have against him, a career-low mark of .527. His numbers would be a lot better if he didn’t have a few bad outings, similar to Melancon.

While he didn’t make the All-Star game this year, he’s still been a more-than effective relief pitcher, and has been better than his 2014 self in multiple areas. His career ERA of 2.55 and WHIP of 1.03 suggest that his performance won’t regress much, if at all, over the course of the rest of this season.

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