#4, Zach Duke, 2005-2010
In 2005 the Pittsburgh Pirates called up two of their better pitching prospect. One of those prospects was Paul Maholm and the other would be Zach Duke. Duke would show a lot of flashes in his 2005 stint and give a lot of hope to fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates about the future of the rotation for the team.
Zach Duke is a former American professional baseball pitcher who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 14 seasons from 2005 to 2019. He was born on April 19, 1983, in Clifton, Texas, and attended Midway High School in Waco, Texas. Duke was a left-handed pitcher and primarily played for the Pittsburgh Pirates during his career.
Duke was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 20th round of the 2001 MLB draft. He made his major league debut on July 2, 2005, against the Milwaukee Brewers, and pitched a complete game, allowing only two runs and striking out five batters. Duke had an impressive rookie season in 2005, finishing with an 8-2 record and a 1.81 ERA in 14 starts. His best season was in 2009 when he pitched to a 3.29 ERA in the first half. However, his ERA would be over 5 for the second part of the season. This carried into 2011 when he made 29 starts with an ERA pushing 6. The Bucs would trade Duke to the Diamondbacks ending his career as a Pirate.
Over his career, Duke played for six different teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds. He finished his career with a record of 71-101 and a 4.54 ERA. Duke was primarily a starting pitcher early in his career but transitioned to a reliever in his later years. A pitcher who showed a lot of promise at times, but could not find consistency. Many in the fan base wanted Duke to succeed but he could never put it all together.