Along with the promotion of Victor Black to high-A Bradenton, the Pittsburgh Pirates have also promoted right handed reliever Duke Welker from Bradenton to Altoona. Welker has put up a strong season in Bradenton, with a 2.25 ERA in 52 innings, along with a 7.1 K/9 and a 4.3 BB/9 ratio. In the past year he’s displayed a 98 MPH fastball, although control has been a big issue, with almost a walk an inning during the 2010 season. Welker got those control numbers down to a more respectable range, although it’s still high. The 6′ 7″, 220 pound right hander is 25 years old, but due to his high velocity, he’s definitely a prospect.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
It’s about time he made it to Altoona. I believe he was our 2nd round pick in 2007. Personally, I thought Welker was an overdraft in ’07, but I’m glad to see that he is starting to put things together even if it is in a relief role…
What a change of career path for Welker. I am guessing maybe Arizona fall league for him?