Tony Watson
Tony Watson
33-Year-Old PitcherRP
San Francisco Giants
2018 Fantasy Outlook
The lefty pitched his way out of the closer role in Pittsburgh, blowing four saves in a two-week span from late May to early June, and was ultimately dealt to Los Angeles at the trade deadline. His strikeout rate fell to a career-low 18.2 percent and while Watson's walk rate was solid at 6.9 percent, he has slowly regressed in that department from his near-elite levels in 2013-14. Watson does a good job of keeping the ball on the ground and he's trouble for opposing lefty hitters, but right-handers did far more damage against him in 2017 (.271/.348/.460). He was never an ideal fit in the closer role to begin with, and his recent struggles against righties make it hard to imagine he will ever get another extended opportunity to close in the majors. Watson figures to work primarily as a specialist no matter where he ends up in free agency. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a two-year, $9 million contract with the Giants in February of 2018. Contract includes a player option for 2020 and escalator clauses that could make the deal worth up to $14 million over two years or $21 million over three years.
Continues dominant season
PSan Francisco Giants
August 13, 2018
Watson gave up a hit and struck out a batter over two-thirds of a scoreless inning in Sunday's 4-3 win over the Pirates.
Watson notched his 25th hold in the process, which is the most he has recorded since his days in Pittsburgh when he was considered one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. The 33-year-old now owns a sparkling 2.28 ERA and a 4.7 K/BB ratio over 51.1 innings, making him a strong asset in holds leagues.
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Pitching Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
Even Split
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .244 287 70 10 65 8 1 5
Since 2016vs Right .243 522 103 44 112 23 2 18
2018vs Left .237 103 31 3 23 3 1 1
2018vs Right .233 143 31 11 30 6 1 3
2017vs Left .276 107 20 4 27 3 0 2
2017vs Right .280 184 33 16 45 8 0 7
2016vs Left .211 77 19 3 15 2 0 2
2016vs Right .216 195 39 17 37 9 1 8
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
Since 2016Home 2.77 1.09 100.2 7 6 11 7.4 2.1 1.1
Since 2016Away 3.41 1.27 94.0 6 9 14 8.5 2.9 1.0
2018Home 1.50 0.93 30.0 1 1 0 8.4 1.2 0.6
2018Away 4.02 1.24 31.1 3 5 0 9.8 2.9 0.6
2017Home 2.31 1.11 35.0 5 1 7 6.2 1.3 1.0
2017Away 4.55 1.67 31.2 2 3 3 8.2 4.3 1.4
2016Home 4.29 1.21 35.2 1 4 4 7.8 3.5 1.5
2016Away 1.69 0.91 32.0 1 1 11 7.6 1.7 1.1
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Stat Review
How does Tony Watson compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
92.4 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Watson wasn't the same pitcher in 2016 that he was the two previous seasons. His fastball velocity (93.2 mph) dipped for the second straight year and his changeup usage (24.7 percent) dwarfed his career mark (13.4 percent). The lefty's pinpoint control wavered - a 2.7 BB/9 was his highest since 2012 - and he allowed homers at a 1.7 HR/9 clip, well above his last two seasons of 0.6 HR/9 and 0.4 HR/9, respectively. The good news - and there is some - is that general manager Neal Huntington said Watson will enter 2017 as his clear stopper. The lefty saved 15 of 18 games after taking over for Mark Melancon in August, registering a 3.86 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 19:5 K:BB in 23.1 innings. He also gave up six homers. Although Watson's days of elite peripheral statistics might be a thing of the past, he's the frontrunner for saves in Pittsburgh. Keep in mind, however, that he may eventually face competition from free-agent addition Dan Hudson.
Watson is in line for Pittsburgh’s closer job whenever Mark Melancon gets hurt or moves to another team. Armed with a 93.9 mph fastball, the left-hander registered a 1.91 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 75.1 innings. He led the majors with 41 holds — while blowing only two saves — and compiled excellent strikeout and walk rates. The 31-year-old is only two years away from unrestricted free agency, which likely means his time with Pittsburgh is nearing an end. In the meantime, he could surprise fantasy owners with 30-plus saves if Melancon leaves town.
Watson was unhittable in the first half of 2014. Through July 8, the hard-throwing lefty registered a 0.84 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 42.2 innings. He pitched well the rest of the way, but wasn't quite as dominant (2.60 ERA, 1.12 WHIP). It's possible that Pittsburgh over-extended the lefty at times, given that Watson and closer Mark Melancon were the only two reliable bullpen options. If anything happens to Melancon, such as an injury or trade, then Watson would likely take over as the team's stopper. He has two more seasons of arbitration, so the penny-pinching Pirates figure to keep him around a bit longer. For the season, Watson went 10-2 with a 1.63 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 77.1 innings. He finished second in the senior circuit with 34 holds but also blew seven saves. Expect more of the same in 2015.
One of Pittsburgh's unheralded bullpen arms, Watson crafted a 2.39 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 71.2 IP in 2013. Armed with a 93.6 mph average fastball, the lefty recorded 22 holds and two saves while blowing just two save opportunities. Watson's improved control -- 4.5 K/BB rate -- gave manager Clint Hurdle confidence using him indiscriminately against both righties and lefties. In fact, the 29-year-old limited right-handed batters to a lower batting average (.192) than lefties (.206). Most likely, Watson will once again serve as a late-inning setup man in 2014. He's got the stuff to close, but Hurdle likes him in high-leverage situations.
Watson held opponents to 37 hits in 53.1 innings in 2012, courtesy of a strong fastball (92.5 mph) and slider (84.9). He held opposing hitters to a .198 batting average (.183/.213 vs. LHB/RHB) as a relief specialist. The lefty compiled 16 holds and five wins despite dealing with command issues -- he walked 23 batters. There's a good chance the 28-year-old, who often served as the team's lone lefty out of the bullpen, serves in a similar capacity for 2013. He might even close out a small number of games after the Pirates traded closer Joel Hanrahan to Boston, but drafting him for anything other than the holds category would probably be a mistake.
Watson got his first taste of big league ball in 2011, compiling a 3.95 ERA in 41 innings. The left-hander features a hard-to-pickup delivery and actually did better against righties (.193 BAA) than lefties (.279 BAA). He has the potential to start in a pinch but will likely continue on as a reliever, shuttling back and forth between Pittsburgh and Triple-A Indianapolis. Provided Pittsburgh keeps him in the bullpen, Watson has the upside of an eighth-inning setup man.
More Fantasy News
Records 17th hold
PSan Francisco Giants
June 21, 2018
Watson allowed two hits over a scoreless inning en route to his 17th hold of the season in Wednesday's 6-5 win over the Marlins.
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Set to see occasional save chances
PSan Francisco Giants
June 20, 2018
Manager Bruce Bochy said Watson will see some save chances with Hunter Strickland (hand) on the disabled list, though Sam Dyson is expected to see the lion's share of opportunities, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.
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Option for closer role
PSan Francisco Giants
June 19, 2018
Watson is a candidate to serve as the Giants' closer in the absence of Hunter Strickland (hand), Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
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Delivers ninth hold
PSan Francisco Giants
May 27, 2018
Watson gave up a run on two hits over an inning in Saturday's 5-4 win over the Cubs.
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Records third hold
PSan Francisco Giants
April 22, 2018
Watson pitched a perfect inning and struck out two while picking up the hold Sunday against the Angels.
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