Open main menu

Anthony Michael Watson (born May 30, 1985) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball (MLB). Prior to playing professionally, Watson attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and played college baseball for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Watson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth round of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft. He made his MLB debut in 2011, and was an MLB All-Star in 2014. He previously played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tony Watson
Tony Watson (48424090262) (cropped).jpg
Watson with the San Francisco Giants in 2019
San Francisco Giants – No. 56
Born: (1985-05-30) May 30, 1985 (age 34)
Sioux City, Iowa
Bats: Left Throws: Left
MLB debut
June 8, 2011, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
(through 2019 season)
Win–loss record39–25
Earned run average2.81
Career highlights and awards

Early careerEdit

Watson attended Dallas Center Grimes High School in Grimes, Iowa. In 2003, his senior year, Watson threw three no-hitters and had a 0.10 earned run average (ERA). He won the Bob Feller Award as the top high school pitcher in Iowa.[1]

The Florida Marlins selected him in the 23rd round of the 2003 Major League Baseball draft, but he chose to attend the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he played college baseball for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.[2] In 2005, he had a 6–1 win-loss record and a 2.82 ERA in 23 games (five starts) and in 2006 he went 10–2 with a 2.78 ERA in 17 games (15 starts).[citation needed] Watson was drafted in the 17th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball draft by the Baltimore Orioles, but chose not to sign.[2] In 2007, he went 6–4 with a 4.09 ERA in 15 starts.

Professional careerEdit

Pittsburgh PiratesEdit

Watson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth round of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft, and signed for an $85,000 signing bonus.[2][3] He split 2007 between the State College Spikes and Hickory Crawdads, going a combined 7–2 with a 2.79 ERA in 13 starts. In 2008, he went 8–12 with a 3.56 ERA in 28 starts for the Lynchburg Hillcats and in 2009 he went 0–3 with an 8.22 ERA in five starts for the Altoona Curve. He went 6–4 with a 2.67 ERA in 34 games (nine starts) with the Curve in 2010.

On June 7, 2011, Watson was called up to the majors for the first time. José Ascanio was designated for assignment to make room for Watson on the Pirates' 25-man roster.[4] Watson made his major league debut on June 8, 2011, striking out both batters he faced, Chris Young and Juan Miranda of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Watson went 2–2 with a 3.95 ERA in 43 games in 2011.[5]

In 2012, Watson went 5–2 with a 3.38 ERA in 68 games.[citation needed] In 2013, Watson went 3–1 with a 2.39 ERA in 67 games with two saves.[5] In 2014, Watson went 10–2 with a career-best 1.63 ERA in 78 games with two saves. On May 26, 2014, Watson got his first career big league hit, a single off of Carlos Torres of the New York Mets.[citation needed] During the 2014 season, Watson earned his first MLB All Star Game selection. He retired the only batter he faced during the game.[6] Watson ended the 2014 season with a 10-2 record and a 1.63 ERA in 78 games.[1]

Watson with the Pirates in 2017

In 2015, Watson went 4–1 with a 1.91 ERA in 77 games with one save and a major-league-leading 41 holds.[7] At the 2016 trade deadline, the Pirates traded Mark Melancon to the Nationals, Watson moved then from a setup role to the closer role. At the end of the season, Watson finished with 15 saves in 70 games.

At the beginning of the 2017 season, Watson began as closer but after a string of consecutive blown saves, Watson was moved back to a setup role.[8][9]

Los Angeles DodgersEdit

On July 31, 2017, the Pirates traded Watson to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor leaguers Angel German and Oneil Cruz.[10] In 24 appearances for the Dodgers he was 2–1 with a 2.70 ERA.[11] In the post-season, he pitched in all three rounds of the playoffs, and was the winning pitcher in two games of the 2017 World Series.[11]

San Francisco GiantsEdit

On February 19, 2018, Watson signed a two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants that included a player option for a third year.[12] In 2018 he was 4-6 with a 2.59 ERA, as in 72 games he pitched 66 innings and struck out 72 batters.[13]

In 2019, he was 2-2 with a 4.17 ERA, as in 60 games he pitched 54 innings.[13]

Personal lifeEdit

Watson's great-uncle, Tom Offenburger, served as an aide to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.[14]

Watson and his wife, Cassie, have one child; a daughter, Wynnie. The family lives in Florida during the offseason.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Tony Watson hopes to build off All-Star season". March 9, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Ex-Husker Watson thriving as Pirates' setup man | Local Sports". Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "Tony Watson". The Baseball Cube. May 7, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  4. ^ "Pirates recall Watson, DFA Ascanio". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 7, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Dallas Center-Grimes alum seeks MLB All-Star spot". July 5, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  6. ^ "Watson enjoys one pitch, one out in All Star game". July 16, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  7. ^ Major League Leaderboards » 2015 » Pitchers » Standard Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball
  8. ^ "Tony Watson out as closer as Pirates turn to Felipe Rivero and Juan Nicasio". June 9, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  9. ^ RotoWire (June 9, 2017). "Pirates' Felipe Rivero: Will share closer duties". CBS Sports. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  10. ^ Minami, Craig (July 31, 2017). "Dodgers acquire left-handed reliever Tony Watson from Pittsburgh for two minor leaguers". SB Nation. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Tony Watson Statistics & History". Baseball Reference.
  12. ^ Haft, Chris (February 19, 2018). "Giants sign lefty reliever Watson to 2-year deal". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Tony Watson Stats". Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  14. ^ "Great-uncle of Pirates' Tony Watson was part of Rev. King's inner circle | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  15. ^ "When the Major League Baseball pitcher in your family gets his high school jersey "retired"". Retrieved December 22, 2017.

External linksEdit