Which Pittsburgh Pirates Are Under Pressure The Next Two Weeks?

Sep 17, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) left fielder Adam Frazier (26) and right fielder Gregory Polanco (25) celebrate their 7-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) left fielder Adam Frazier (26) and right fielder Gregory Polanco (25) celebrate their 7-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 17, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson (44) is congratulated by Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Eric Fryer (24) after the Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 7-3 at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson (44) is congratulated by Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Eric Fryer (24) after the Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 7-3 at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

Closer Tony Watson

On July 30th the Pittsburgh Pirates traded closer Mark Melancon to the Washington Nationals. Due to this, left-handed reliever Tony Watson became the Pirates’ new closer. However, he has produced inconsistent results as the Pirate closer.

Since taking over as Pirates’ closer Watson has pitched 20 2/3 innings. In these 20 2/3 innings pitched he has allowed 19 hits, six home runs, he has walked five batters, he has a 1.16 WHIP, and he has struck out 16 batters. This has led to Watson posting a 4.35 ERA and a 4.55 FIP as closer.

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The biggest issue for Watson as closer is that he has been allowing far too many home runs. Prior to the 2016 season the most home runs Watson had allowed in a single season was six. And this came in his rookie campaign in 2011. So allowing home runs is something that in the past had never plagued Tony Watson.

Why is there pressure on Tony Watson?

Well, that is because there is no guarantee that he will be with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017. Watson will be a free agent after the 2017 season so it would behoove Neal Huntington to shop him this offseason.

Not only is he a free agent to be, but the 2017 Pirates do not necessarily need Tony Watson. With relievers such as A.J. SchugelAntonio Bastardo, Felipe Rivero, and Juan Nicasio under contract for 2017, the Pirate bullpen should be very strong in 2017 with or without Tony Watson. If Tony Watson wants to make sure he is part of the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates, he better finish the season strong.