BRADENTON, Fla. - The first group of pitchers during bullpen sessions today featured the heart of the Pirates' rotation. Ivan Nova, Gerrit Cole, and Jameson Taillon were grouped together for the very first bullpen session of Spring Training, with Pirates' closer Tony Watson rounding out the group. Perhaps no group is more important to the success of the 2017 team than those four pitchers.
Watson's importance is more of a smaller scale issue, with the Pirates needing him to bounce back from a poor 2016 season to lock down the late innings. But if the rotation has another year like last year, it won't matter if Watson bounces back, as there won't be many opportunities to get him the ball with the lead.
The Pirates had some problems last year with injuries and poor performances from the...
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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 AccuScore.com, 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.