Pirates Have Three Headed Monster of Their Own in Bullpen

The Pittsburgh Pirates have barely made any noise this offseason, other than trading away their starting second baseman in Neil Walker. However, despite needing more offense and the bullpen already being elite, the Buckos did make a move in the pen regardless. After watching KC win the Series primarily on bullpen strength, the Buckos’ front office might have thought to theirselves about strengthening their pen even more, but with a small move. So they did, as Neftali Feliz agreed to join the club on a one-year contract earlier this month.

The former all-star closer is coming off of his worst major league season, as he posted an ERA above 6 in 2015, but since closing games on an elite level for Texas back in 2010-2011, he has been juggled around between roles. His new contract with the Pirates may only be for one-year, but he could finally have a solidified role that he can get comfortable in. According to Pirates’ reports, he will be the 7th inning guy to bridge the gap to the one-two punch of Tony Watson and Mark Melancon.

In 2015, Neftali closed several games and also played other bullpen roles with two clubs in Texas and Detroit, who didn’t have that great of bullpens or a solidified closer. The year before that, Neftali posted an ERA of 1.99 in just 31 innings of work. Before that, he was injured the entirety of 2013. In 2012, he was tested as a starter, which didn’t pan out. However, before that he was arguably the best closer in the AL saving around 89% of games successfully, while having a K/9 around 8.5. Being in one of the best pens in the league where everyone has a legit role, should finally be a place for Feliz to settle in, rather than being bounced around. Tony Watson has posted an ERA below 2 the past couple of seasons, while Melancon lead the league in saves with 51 in 2015. If Neftali Feliz can find his 2011 form, the Buckos will have a big three-headed monster for the Cubs and Cardinals to face.


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