The Pittsburgh Pirates have officially recalled right-handed pitcher Duke Welker. To make room they’ve optioned Josh Harrison to Triple-A. This is Getting Old first reported yesterday that Duke Welker was on his way to Pittsburgh.
Welker has been on the 40-man roster for the last year, and is a legit bullpen prospect. He’s a bit older than most prospects, currently 27 years old, but has the stuff to be a potential late inning reliever. Welker throws in the upper 90s and has hit 100 in the past. He also throws a hard slider which is a plus offering. This year he’s been off to a great start with Indianapolis, throwing 16 innings without an earned run. Welker has allowed three hits in that span, and has a 20:8 K/BB ratio. Control has always been an issue, but he’s made some good strides the last two years, getting his walk rate down to the 4.5 BB/9 range. As long as he has the upper 90s fastball and the plus slider to limit hits and rack up the strikeouts, he can live with the walks.