Pirates Relief Pitching Prospects Drawing Interest?

Vic Black (pictured) and Duke Welker were seen by ten teams this weekend.

Vic Black (pictured) and Duke Welker were seen by ten teams this weekend.

Peter Gammons (via Will Flemming on Twitter) said on MLB Network that 10 teams were at Victory Field this weekend, looking at Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitching prospects Vic Black and Duke Welker.

Both Black and Welker are hard throwers, with their fastballs sitting in the upper 90s and touching 100 in the past. They also each have plus breaking balls, which lead to a lot of strikeouts for each pitcher.

I’m not sure what it means that teams were looking at both relievers. I wouldn’t be surprised if teams were interested in either player. I’ve heard opposing scouts praise Welker for a few years, even when he was walking a batter an inning a few years ago in low-A. That said, I’d rather see the Pirates go with the approach they’ve been taking with relievers. If they’re going to trade relievers, they should trade established relievers for prospects, then use guys like Black and Welker to replace the departed players. Trading guys like Black and Welker would allow other teams to build low cost, quality bullpens in the same approach that the Pirates have been taking.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • elgaupo

    Scouts don’t randomly scout other teams players. I would guess something in the works on the Pirates end. Maybe we’ll land a that #1 or a big RH bat for RF.

    • elgaupo

      Better worded would be… That many scouts don’t simultaneously scout the same players from another team.

    • jg941

      What do you mean by #1?

  • dirtydavid4

    Would be nice to see them (scouts) have to scout our best relievers up here instead of the minors but that is par for the course with the bucs

    • http://twitter.com/HIP_H0P_JORGE HIP_H0P_JORGE

      So you wouldn’t classify Grilli, Melancon, Morris, and Wilson as our “best relievers”?

      • dirtydavid4

        Jorge I’ll take those 2 over Contreras and Mazzaro

  • https://profiles.google.com/107500598404660809214 Kerry Writtenhouse

    Mazzaro has done well so far.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.moore2 Kenny Moore

    NH can be a hard ass when it comes to making trades. He shoots for the moon with average/good players. BLACK and the DUKE could both be premier closers on the major league level and if some team wants either one we would have to get a premier bat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.a.capernicus Nick A. Capernicus

    the point is the pirates would trade prospects for established players, not trade established players for prospects. They want impact guys now

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

    Not sure the Bucs would receive impact back for Welker or Black unless we throw in some bigger bait.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.a.capernicus Nick A. Capernicus

      Yeah but they’re are good pieces to build around. Black is a top 20 prospect.

  • rburgh

    One of those two guys might be the key to getting an upgrade somewhere, such as 3B. And the last thing we need is another RH bat with Martin/Fort, all our Middle IF except Walker, Marte, and Cutch all swinging from the right side.

    I have no problem dealing one of them, both would be crazy. We have other RP prospects in the pipeline, and there are always castoffs available too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.moore2 Kenny Moore

      Like who? BLACK and “the DUKE” are our best option for the closer position in the future. NH loves power arms and I don’t see him moving either one unless he get’s blown away. Both players have to much upside and if you keep both, it increases our chances of having a very young, cheap and talented closer that you could control for a good amount of time.

  • steve19981

    This doesn’t make a ton of sense. Neither of these guys individually is going to net much of a return in terms of established players.

    There are only two trade scenarios that make sense for me. 1) The Pirates are trying to deal back into the compensation round. If I could trade Welker or Black (not both) for a sandwich pick, I would conisder it. 2) The Pirates are looking for a prospect for prospect deal where they trade a ML ready reliever for an A ball prospect.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.moore2 Kenny Moore

      I don’t think so. If what you are saying is true why would the team trade a very high comp pick last year to the Marlins for SANCHEZ. NH is looking for a RH power bat and that is not likely going to happen with a comp pick.

  • rburgh

    Anyone up for a good Chase Headley rumor?

    • NorCal Buc

      Yeah, ya got one? Third base seems the likely possibility for a major upgrade. Other positions are stable, for this year and next.

      This F/O hs successfully found “rebound players” such as Russell Martin, Gaby Sanchez, Brandon Inge and to a degree Travis Snider.They compliment the core of Walker, McCutchen, Marte and Tabata (still part of the core).

      So, who do we offer for Chase Headley? What are the terms of his contract? He must be nearing F/A. If the contract is favorable, then we could offer a VERY nice package of guys.

      For a front line starter (Wandy), we gave up a mid-level prospect (Grossman) and a potential back end starter (Owens) and a lower level pitcher. What eould this F/O offer.

      For other trades, is the Hunter Pense trade a fair comparison? Or the Jason Upton trade?

  • Ecbucs

    Scouts may be looking at relievers at Indy but might be looking at other prospects at lower levels in the organization.

    I wouldn’t mind if the Bucs tried to trade to get a compensation pick but wouldn’t trade Welker or Black for one.

    Will be interesting to follow this and see if something happens (or at least more rumors).

  • http://www.facebook.com/azibuck Andy Zibuck

    I would guess it’s something like

    Barmes OR Jones OR Pedro
    Black OR Welker

    We’d be dealing Barmes because the FO just got comfortable with the idea of Mercer at SS full time.
    We’d be dealing Jones because his value is pretty high right now, but his price will be going up, and they are comfortable with the replacement options.
    We’d be dealing Pedro because… well, maybe they’ve soured on his long term chances? I don’t know.

    So I’m saying some teams are interested in one of our MLB players and the main terms have been agreed upon. To finish the deal, NH has said you can take your pick between Black or Welker, not both.

    This is total Conspiracy Theory. Just ignore me. … But it could be true.

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