Burning Fantasy Baseball Questions: Pittsburgh Pirates

by Tim Heaney on January 17, 2013 @ 15:22:26 PDT


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Why did Pittsburgh tab Jason Grilli as closer?

Well, part of it stems from convenience; Joel Hanrahan's salary was set to increase. Still, since landing in the 'Burgh in late 2011, Grilli has posted some of the best relief numbers in the game.

Pittsburgh Pirates 2B Neil Walker
Walker can be a hit, with some reach

He built on the suffocating stuff he showed last summer with a 13.81 K/9 last year in setting up Hanrahan, who often proved shaky. The cost-effective alternative increased his velocity, which naturally led him to trust No. 1 more frequently and empower his highly rated slide piece. In turn, that allowed him to punch the black with authority.

He'll likely stumble a tad, especially since he frequently danced around homers and frozen ropes along with his spots of control woes. But his 2012 FIP pair said he actually could've been better. The Buccos don't have an elite 'pen, but Tony Watson and Jared Hughes could be handy in table-setting duties.

More importantly, the unfounded universal stigma of mediocre-to-bad teams generating inferior numbers of save chances may allow Grilli to dip into third-closer territory, which ranks as the optimal spot to call his name.

What if Neil Walker stayed healthy?

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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