Amateur Draft Analysis – Rounds 2-5
2. Duke Welker, RHP, Arkansas
– Welker is a 6-7, 220 pound righthander with more projection left than the average college pitcher. Welker sits in the low 90’s with his fastball, which has some late life to it. Welker’s secondary pitches are not considered especially strong. His best is a slider that remains somewhat inconsistent. The Arkansas product also mixes in a curveball and a changeup. Welker posted a 3.59 ERA in 2006, with 80 strikeouts and 39 walks in 97.2 innings. Welker has an injury history, having had labrum surgery on his throwing shoulder as a freshman at Seminole State Junior College. Assuming health, Welker has a chance to develop into a 4th or 5th starter.
3. Brian Friday, SS, Rice
– A three-year starter at Rice, Friday was a sparkplug player for the Owls, possessing very good speed, solid range, and a strong throwing arm. At 5-11, 180 pounds, Friday has limited power but has enough strength to line some doubles into the outfield gaps. Friday projects as a player that will move rapidly through the Pirates system, but ultimately has a limited ceiling. Friday projects as a solid utility player.
4. Quincy Lattimore, OF, Middle Creek HS (NC)
– Lattimore is a raw player that possesses above-average speed and more power than his 5-11, 175 pound frame would suggest, as well as solid strike zone discipline for a high school hitter. On the negative side, Lattimore has some contact issues; he has a pronounced uppercut in his swing that leads to a lot of whiffs. Lattimore has below-average arm strength. Lattimore projects as an offense-oriented centerfielder or a left fielder. PG Crosschecker notes that Lattimore might be a “two-year rookie ball player.”
5. Andrew Walker, C, TCU
– Walker is a college product without a tool that really stands out. His strength as a prospect is his lack of glaring weaknesses. He has solid receiving skills and is given credit for handling recent TCU prospects, such as Lance Broadway and Jake Arrieta. He has enough power to occasionally hammer a mistake, though his swing is somewhat long. Walker has solid arm strength and moves well for a catcher. Walker projects as a well-rounded backup catcher.
As a side note, Analysis of rounds 6-10 (as well as a few interesting late-round selections) will be up sometime tomorrow.