Originally written May 24, 2012 on North Side Notch:
Today, the Pirates promoted two of their higher rated relief pitching prospects, Duke Welker and Jeff Inman. Inman, 24, had pitched 9 2/3 innings giving up just one unearned run with High-A Bradenton. He was the Pirates’ 12th round pick in the 2009 draft out of Stanford, but has had his development stalled a bit due to injuries. The club is probably being aggressive in moving him up to AA because he will be eligible for the Rule V Draft this coming off-season, so the time is now to decide if he is someone worth protecting. Welker, 26, had pitched in 23 1/3 innings with AA-Altoona with a 2.31 ERA. He has struck out 19 batters and walked seven. Welker is on the 40-man roster and possesses one of the best fastballs in the organization as he can consistently sit in the mid-to-high 90′s. Welker was the team’s 2nd round pick in 2007 out of Arkansas. I saw Welker in a game last season when he was in Bradenton and took some video of him [link].

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