Analysis

Tony Watson and the Rarity of the Left-Handed Closer

Tony Watson is one of few left-handed closers in baseball. Photo Credit: Tim Williams
Tony Watson and the Rarity of the Left-Handed Closer

BRADENTON, Fla. — As he was at the end of last season, Tony Watson will be the Pirates’ closer in 2017.

Watson is of course left-handed, which makes him something of a rarity. Only once, in 2006, have the Pirates had a lefty lead the team in saves, and that’s pretty much par for the course around Major League Baseball.

In 2016, with his late-season audition, Watson finished tied for 28th in the majors in saves. If you consider all of the pitchers that he’s tied with and above to be closers for all intents and purposes, you’ll find just three more left-handers: Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and Tony Cingrani. Over 25 percent of all the innings pitched in MLB last season were by lefties, but only about 10 percent of the closers are lefties.

So why are there so few left-handed closer...

To continue reading the rest of this article, subscribe to Pirates Prospects. Subscribers get access to every article on the site, along with all of our exclusive live coverage of the Pirates' minor league system, all for a very low monthly or yearly rate.

If you're already a member, you can log in below. If you think you're receiving this message in error, please e-mail tim@piratesprospects.com.

Analysis

More in Analysis

Drew Hutchison Among Early Minor League Free Agents

John DrekerOctober 23, 2017

Pittsburgh Pirates Release 2018 Spring Training Home Schedule

John DrekerOctober 23, 2017

Williams: Previewing a Live Upcoming Look at the Pirates Prospects in the AFL

Tim WilliamsOctober 19, 2017

Williams: How I Would Expand and Realign Major League Baseball

Tim WilliamsOctober 18, 2017

Williams: The 2018 West Virginia Roster Could Rebuild the Pirates’ Farm System

Tim WilliamsOctober 18, 2017

Williams: Five Players Who Can Improve the Pirates the Most From Within

Tim WilliamsOctober 16, 2017

Pirates Prospects is an independent media outlet, and is in no way affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates, their minor league affiliates, Major League Baseball, or Minor League Baseball.

Copyright © 2017 Pirates Prospects