By Jason Shetler
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.