Pirates Spring Training Report 3/31

By Jason Shetler

The Pirates wrapped up the Grapefruit League portion of their schedule today in Port Charlotte and came away with a 13-8 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Kyle Lobstein started off the game going two innings and giving up a pair of runs. 

Ryan Vogelsong gave up three runs (one earned) in 1.1 innings of work.

Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless fifth inning. 

Tony Watson allowed a two-run homer to former #1 overall pick Tim Beckham.

Neftali Feliz threw the seventh and gave up a run.

Sean Rodriguez hit a grand slam. 

Matt Joyce went deep with a three-run homer.

Francisco Cervelli blasted a solo home run. 

Michael Morse was on base three times with two singles, one of which drove in a run and also walked. 

Stetson Allie had an RBI double and scored a run.

The Pirates have a scheduled day off tomorrow. They will travel to Indianapolis for an exhibition game on Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds at 1:35 ET. 




Pirates Spring Training Report 3/30

By Jason Shetler

The Pirates played their final home game of the 2016 Grapefruit League against the Boston Red Sox, a game that ended in a 4-4 tie.

Jon Niese pitched four innings while giving up two runs and had five strikeouts.

Cory Luebke and A.J. Schugel went two innings and each up a run.

Jim Fuller tossed a scoreless inning.

Andrew McCutchen was 3-for-4 including a home run, a double and a walk.

Gregory Polanco had a pair of doubles and drove in a run.

Jason Rogers had five plate appearances and walked four times.

The Pirates will play their last game of the Grapefruit League schedule tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:05 ET.

Pirates Could Carry Three Lefties in the Bullpen Come Opening Day

By Jason Shetler

As Spring Training is about to conclude this week, the Pirates bullpen is set for the most part with Mark Melancon, Tony Watson, Arquimedes Caminero and Neftali Feliz. Whoever loses out on the fifth spot in the rotation between Ryan Vogelsong and Juan Nicasio will pitch long relief. Eric O’Flaherty was likely going to be on the team as a second lefty in the bullpen, but because of Cory Luebke having an opt-out clause in his contract, the Pirates traded O’Flaherty to the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, which was done in an effort so that Luebke won’t be able to use the opt-out. 

While it hasn’t been made official yet, Jared Hughes could begin the season on the disabled list. Rob Scahill and Trey Haley appeared to be candidates to take the place of Hughes, but both were among the seven cuts the Pirates made on Tuesday. One of the better performers this Spring for the Bucs has been Kyle Lobstein. Given all these circumstances, the Pirates may very well have three lefties in their bullpen on the Opening Day roster with Watson, Luebke and Lobstein. With of course Watson being in the setup role, Luebke should be able to face both left-handed and right handed batters since he has above average offerings, such as a fastball that can reach the mid-90’s along with a mid-upper 80’s curveball. Lobstein has the versatility to either pitch multiple innings, or because of his groundball tendencies, brought in to strand inherited baserunners like Hughes. The idea of having both Luebke and Lobstein in the bullpen along with Watson would really provide some nice balance, at least until Hughes returns from injury.

Pirates Spring Training Report 3/29

By Jason Shetler

The Pirates were in Tampa today to take on the New York Yankees and lost 5-4 in a game that was shortened after five innings because of rain. 

Steven Brault got the start going three innings and gave up five runs, four of which were earned.

Arquimedes Caminero and Jorge Rondon each pitched a scoreless inning.

Josh Harrison was 2-for-3 with a double and a triple.

Jose Osuna went 1-for-2 and drove in a pair of runs.

Jake Stallings also goes 1-for-2 and hit his first homer of the Spring.

The Pirates are back in Bradenton to square off against the Boston Red Sox tomorrow at 1:05 ET.

Montana DuRapau is a Very Intriguing Reliever in the Pirates System

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Sam Santilli - MiLB.com

p/c: Sam Santilli – MiLB.com

While most people associate the Pirates with having quality starting pitching prospects, such as Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon and Nick Kingham, you almost never hear about of any of the relief pitchers in the system. Pirates GM Neal Huntington has been able to build a solid bullpen the past few seasons, which has played a huge part in them being a contending club. In regards to homegrown talent that could help out the bullpen in the near future, the Pirates have a very intriguing reliever in Montana DuRapau. 

In the 2014 MLB Draft, DuRapau was taken by the Pirates as a 32nd round selection out of Bethune-Cookman College. That year, he posted a 2.21 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP for the Bucs former short season affiliate Jamestown where he pitched in 15 games, 11 of which were starts. DuRapau was used exclusively in relief last season, and just absolutely dominated opposing batters. In 42 appearances combined with the West Virginia Power and Bradenton Marauders, he put up a 1.40 ERA. Even more impressive was the fact that DuRapau allowed just 28 hits in 70.2 innings of work. John Dreker of Pirates Prospects provided me this scouting report on him. 

“DuRapau has excellent command of four pitches, including a fastball that topped out at 93 MPH last season out of the bullpen. As a starter, he was only hitting 88 MPH and not holding that velocity late, so while the results were strong in Jamestown right out of college, that wouldn’t work at the upper levels. Going to the bullpen allows him to air it out more, while not losing any movement or command of his pitches. When he’s on, which is most of the time, he pounds the strike zone and gets a lot of weak contact.” 

The Altoona Curve should be the destination for DuRapau to begin 2016. He probably won’t get to pitch for the Pirates this season, but is likely to finish the year with AAA Indianapolis. DuRapau could be called up to Pittsburgh at some point in 2017. 




Stephen Tarpley to Begin the Season on DL

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Tim Williams - Pirates Prospects

p/c: Tim Williams – Pirates Prospects

On Monday, Pirates Director of Minor League Operations Larry Broadway told Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects that Stephen Tarpley will start the season on the disabled list with an oblique injury.

The injury occurred last week when Tarpley threw warm up pitches before a minor league game, and was holding his right side. Timetable for his return is unknown to this point. The 23-year-old lefty enjoyed a very good 2015 campaign after coming over from the Baltimore Orioles in the Travis Snider trade. He put up a 2.48 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and a K/9 of 8.1 in 20 starts for the West Virginia Power. Tarpley should join the Bradenton Marauders once he returns. MLB Pipeline ranked him the 19th best prospect in the Pirates system entering this year.





Pirates Spring Training Report 3/28

By Jason Shetler

The Pirates faced off against the Minnesota Twins in Bradenton today and lost by a final score of 6-4.

Gerrit Cole went 4.2 innings, giving up a pair of runs and striking out four.

Neftali Feliz allowed a run and walked three batters.

Trey Haley struckout the side in the seventh.

Curtis Partch gave up a three-run homer in the eighth inning.

Matt Joyce was 2-for-2 with a solo home run, an RBI double and a walk.

Michael Morse goes 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

Danny Ortiz went 1-for-3 and drove in two runs.

Jake Goebbert had a double and also walked.

The Pirates will take on the New York Yankees tomorrow in Tampa at 1:05 ET.