The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted Kansas left-handed pitcher Blake Weiman in the eighth round of the 2017 MLB draft. Weiman was rated 370th by Baseball America, and switched to the bullpen this year, where he had a lot more success.
Weiman is your typical projectable pitcher who added some weight to his frame and added velocity along the way. He was throwing 86-88 MPH out of high school, sitting at 6′ 5″, 175 pounds. He’s now up to 210 pounds, and was sitting 88-92 MPH with his fastball. He has a clean delivery and good control, and pairs the fastball with a slider that improved this year.
Prior to this year, Weiman had issues with his stamina, running into issues later in games. He had a 6.82 ERA in 60.2 innings last year, mostly as a starter, but moved to the bullpen full-time this year due to the later inning issues. He threw 45 innings, putting up a 2.80 ERA and a 55:5 K/BB ratio.
It will be interesting to see if the Pirates move him back to the rotation. They typically put their best arms as starters, if only to give them extra work and extra chances to develop. But the lack of stamina, and the much better results from Weiman out of the bullpen could put his future as a reliever, with little chance to stick as a starting pitcher.