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Duke Welker Video Recap – 7/28

Duke Welker was the Pirates’ 2nd round pick in the 2007 draft out of Arkansas. As he entered the system, big expectations were put on his shoulders as someone who should become one of the club’s top prospects. However, arm injuries and setbacks have derailed those plans and Welker has been forced into a relief role.

In that role, though, he has flourished. Due to his age, you won’t find him on any top prospects lists. However, it is hard to totally ignore someone who is all of a sudden throwing the ball in the mid to high 90′s and now consistently getting batters out.

So far this year, Welker has a 2.34 ERA over 50 innings for Bradenton. In those 50 innings, he has struck out 38 and walked 25. What those peripherals mean is he still has yet to harness his pitches, so it will be interesting to see what he does next year when he makes the jump to AA.

Welker faced 3 batters the game I saw him pitch as he tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a gun at Brighthouse Field, so I have no idea where his velocity was. But, here are the 3 batters he faced:

 
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Game 113: Pittsburgh Pirates vs San Diego Padres Live Blog

Published on August 7, 2011 by in Live Blogs

 
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Elevys Gonzalez Video Recap – 7/28

Elevys Gonzalez was signed as an International free agent in 2008. After a solid ’08 season in the Venezuelan Summer League, he came to the US to make his debut in the GCL in 2009 where he held his own as a 19 year old. In 2010, he joined the WV Power and started catching people’s attention with his 6 homers in 236 AB as a 20 year old.

This year, he has continued to develop and has gotten better. He is sporting a solid .300/.354/.431 line as he has become a doubles machine with 29 so far on the season. He is still very young at 21 and is very much a prospect at this point. He’ll get a shot at AA next season to show if he can continue his development.

Gonzalez was 1 for 4 with a double in the game I saw him. You can see his double in his 4th AB. Here are all 4 of his AB’s:

 
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Game 112: Pittsburgh Pirates vs San Diego Padres Live Blog

Published on August 6, 2011 by in Live Blogs

 
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Brad Lincoln recalled; Tony Watson optioned to AAA

In a surprise move, Tony Watson was optioned to AAA-Indianapolis today and starter Brad Lincoln was recalled to take his spot on the roster.

Watson had a 2.73 ERA in 26 1/3 innings where he struck out 23 and walked 12. He had given up runs in each of his last 3 outings, but has been a very solid option out of the bullpen and now leaves the Pirates with Joe Beimel as the only lefty reliever.

Brad Lincoln had a spot start back last month against Washington where he gave up just 2 ER in 6 innings. He’s 7-8 with a 4.19 ERA with 94 strikeouts and 21 walks in 111 2/3 innings for Indy.

I am assuming Lincoln is up here to provide some assistance for what has to be a tired bullpen (outside of Hanrahan). Lincoln has the stuff, too, where he could excel in a relief role. He could also be used to spell some of the starters with an occasional spot start as the rotation’s innings go up.

 
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Evan Chambers Video Recap – 7/28

Evan Chambers was the Pirates’ 3rd round pick in the 2009 Draft. Chambers has struggled a bit as far as his batting average goes in the lower levels of the Minors as he has yet to hit above .250 in a season. However, his ability to draw walks has at least kept people interested in him as his OBP has always been strong and he has yet to post an OPS under .750.

This season, for Bradenton, Chambers is hitting .243/.366/.405. This has been his strongest season to date when it comes to power potential as he has clubbed 11 homers thus far and 20 doubles. One glaring weakness in Chambers’ game are his strikeout numbers, though, as he has struck out in at least 25% of his at bats each of his first 3 seasons.

In the game I saw him, he seemed to be exactly what the scouting reports say. He was very patient at the plate as he drew a walk and worked the counts pretty deep. He also singled and struck out. If Chambers can cut down on the strikeouts a bit, thus giving him more chances to get hits, he could really turn into an interesting prospect. However, the low batting average at this point is really holding him back from being a top level guy in the organization.

His single came in his 2nd AB (which is broken up into two videos due to a issue with the pitching mound) and he walked in his 3rd plate appearance. Here are all 4 of his PA’s:

 
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