First Pitch

First Pitch: Building the Next Great Pirates Bullpen

The Pirates have hard throwing left-hander Felipe Rivero under team control through the 2021 season. Photo Credit: David Hague
First Pitch: Building the Next Great Pirates Bullpen

The Pirates have been a bit spoiled when it comes to having quality relief pitchers in the back of their bullpen. They had Mark Melancon and Tony Watson from 2013-2016, and that combo ended up being one of the best combos in baseball. Even when you consider that both had a bit of a down year in 2016, compared to their previous years, they rank among the best relievers in baseball during that span.

Melancon ranks first in WPA from 2013-2016, while also ranking first in shutdowns. He was rewarded in a big way with a four-year, $62 M contract that was briefly the highest free agent deal for a reliever in history.

Meanwhile, Watson ranked fifth in WPA and fourth in shutdowns. That is all despite the fact that he had a pretty bad year in 2016, knocking him down in each category.

The Pi...

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First Pitch

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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