For the past few weeks, the Washington Nationals (61-42) have been rumored with various names for bullpen pieces. After the Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman and the Yankees reportedly turning down an offer of Nationals top prospect Lucas Giolito, the Nationals went out and grabbed Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star closer Mark Melancon. Melancon, 31 years old, is one again putting up stellar numbers in his 4th season for the Buccos. With a 1.51 ERA and 30 saves in 33 opportunities, the Nationals add a solid piece to their bullpen as they hope to win the National League East for the third time in five years, a division they currently hold a 6.0 game lead in over the second place Miami Marlins.
Going back to the Pirates, who are sitting at 52-49 and 3.0 games back of the second Wild Card spot is Nationals reliever Felipe Rivero and the Nats’ 27th ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, LHP Taylor Hearn. Rivero has struggled this year so far for the Nats, posting a 4.53 ERA in 49.2 inning pitched out of the pen. The upside comes with his youth (only 25), his five years of team control left, and his impressive 9.6 K/9. The prospect going to Pittsburgh is 2015 fifth round pick out of Oklahoma Baptist University, left-handed pitcher Taylor Hearn. Hearn is a hard-throwing lefty with a grade 65 fastball that sits at around 95-98 mph, and can be 99 if he works out of the pen.