06/12/07 9:15 PM ET
Thirteen picks under contract thus far
Club is close to agreeing to terms with second-round pick
By Jeremy Anders / MLB.com
Welker, a 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher from the University of Arkansas, said he wants to sign quickly so he can get on the field and start his professional career.
"The second round is still good slot money, so I'm not worried about that," Welker said. "I just want to get it over with; I want to get signed and play some baseball."
Welker, who transferred to Arkansas from Seminole Junior College, went 7-5 with a 3.57 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 97 2/3 innings in his junior season for the Razorbacks. He said pitching for a top program showed him that he will not be able to rely solely on his fastball that he said usually runs between 92-94 mph.
"At junior college ... I could just throw it by people," Welker said. "Being at Arkansas and in the SEC, I realized I couldn't just throw it by people. I had to learn how to pitch, pitch on both sides of the plate, and I think it helped me tremendously to prepare me for the next level."
Latimore, a center fielder from Middle Creek (N.C.) High School shared Welker's sentiments about signing quickly and said on Monday that he expects to sign sometime Tuesday and get to work in the Minor Leagues this week.
"I'll be signing [Tuesday] . . . and I'll be working out in Bradenton on Friday," Latimore said.
Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield said Latimore, who hit .352 with 31 doubles and 30 RBIs for Middle Creek last season, was an excellent value Draft pick.
"Frederick Latimore is a kid that we think has a nice upside with a power/speed combination," Littlefield said. "He's a good looking athlete that we're pleased to be able to get where we did."
Another player the Pirates were pleased to get was Daniel Moskos, the fourth overall selection from Clemson. Littlefield said Moskos' signing is not imminent, but that is not unusual because he is a high draft pick.
"Generally, the kids at the higher end [of the Draft] take a little more time than do guys a little longer down the road," Littlefield said.
Rounding out the picks the Bucs signed are Matthew Foust (RHP - sixth round), Juan Garcia (C - seventh), Anthony Watson (LHP - ninth), Erik Huber (INF - 12th), Kyle McPherson (RHP - 14th), Harrison Bishop (RHP - 17th), Marcus Davis (OF - 18th), Brian Tracy (RHP - 20th), Matt Cavagnaro (INF - 21st), Chad Rice (SS - 24th), Taylor Cameron (RHP - 31st), and Gary Amato (RHP - 48th).
Jeremy Anders is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.