Top 10 Pittsburgh Pirates Players Of The 2010’s: Numbers 6-10

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PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 06: Tony Watson #44 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Three of the National League Division Series at PNC Park on October 6, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 06: Tony Watson #44 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Three of the National League Division Series at PNC Park on October 6, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

#9 – Reliever Tony Watson

Lefty relief pitcher Tony Watson was one of the best set-up men in the game in the early 2010’s. Watson made his MLB debut in 2011, and quickly became a mainstay in the Pirate bullpen.

Between 2013 to 2015, Watson put up a 1.97 ERA, 2.91 FIP, and 0.95 WHIP. He gave up just 13 home runs in 224 innings, and walked 1.8 batters per 9 in this time period. He ranked 22nd in relief pitcher fWAR, and 15th in K/BB% between ‘13-’15 as well.

After Mark Melancon was traded to the Washington Nationals in July of 2016, Watson became the team’s closer. He would pick up 15 saves down the stretch that season. He then added 10 more in 2017 before struggling, losing his role as closer and getting traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Watson finished up his Pirates tenure in 2017, and with a 2.68 ERA, 3.59 FIP, and 1.01 WHIP in 433 innings. He ranks 12th among Pirates’ relievers in fWAR, and 5th in innings pitched for the Bucs. For the decade, Watson has the 3rd highest Pirates relief pitcher fWAR, and 2nd highest BB/9.

One of the biggest reasons the Pirates made the postseason three seasons in row from 2013 through 2015 was due to having one of the best bullpens in baseball, and Watson was a key cog in these bullpens. The Iowa native was also a National League All-Star in 2014.