Morning Report: You Should Be Paying Attention to Montana DuRapau

Montana DuRapau deserves special mention for his pitching this season. He probably shouldn’t have been in West Virginia to begin the season as a 23-year-old in the bullpen, but you can’t hold that against him. He was given a role and dominated, earning a promotion to Bradenton. Since that promotion, he has nearly unhittable, improving on the .106 BAA he had with the Power.

DuRapau has now pitched 49.2 innings this season and he has allowed 17 hits. Not only is that an impressive number, he also backs that up with just four walks and no hit batters. That gives him an 0.42 WHIP. He has retired the last 17 batters he has faced. In his last 12 appearances, he has thrown a total of 22.1 shutout innings. Finally, he has struck out 43 batters this season, including 19 in 19.1 innings with Bradenton.

He put up strong stats last year with Jamestown, but we were talking about a 22-year-old in a short-season league that was sitting 86-88 MPH with his fastball. The move to the bullpen hasn’t just helped his stats across the board, he is also throwing harder in the shorter outings. Early reports had him sitting 90-91, touching 93 MPH. He obviously has great control, even with the higher velocity, which isn’t always the case.

I don’t expect DuRapau to make it through the season with an 0.42 WHIP, especially if he gets a promotion to Altoona. That being said, I decided to go back and try to find a pitcher in the Pirates’ organization, who pitched at least 49.2 innings and had a WHIP that low, or one that was at least comparable.

Before going back through past seasons, I have to mention the second best WHIP in 49.2(or more) innings for the Pirates this season, just for comparison. Clario Perez, who already received a promotion from Bradenton to Altoona, has an 0.88 WHIP in 58 innings.

Here is the list of WHIP leaders from past 15 seasons:

2014: Tyler Eppler 0.95

2013: Jose Regalado 0.89

2012: Luis Santos 0.99

2011: Kyle McPherson 1.02

2010: Justin Thomas 0.79

2009:  Rudy Owens 0.95

2008: Eliecer Navarro 0.78

2007: Wilson Ortiz 0.78

2006: Freddy Figuereo 0.89

2005: Brady Borner 0.99

2004: Zach Duke 0.97

2003: Matt Capps 0.83

2002: Alberto Reyes 0.93

2001: Brady Borner 0.83

2000: Bobby Bradley 1.00

As you can see from the last 15 years, there is no one close to where Durapau is at right now. Some of these names aren’t familiar names because they were older players at the lower levels. You basically have a wide range of results here, from someone like Zach Duke, who has been in the majors for 11 seasons, to Bobby Bradley, who was once ranked #20 among all prospects in baseball.

Matt Capps is actually an interesting name because he put up that WHIP in 2003 as a starter. Once the Pirates switched him to relief, he made the jump from Low-A to the majors in the same season. I’m not suggesting the Pirates would consider moving DuRapau up to help out in September, but it has been done by someone who was younger than him at the time.

If you haven’t been following DuRapau all season, then you should probably start doing it now. If he can keep up his current pace, that would be amazing, but anything close should get him to Altoona soon. They say that AA is where the prospects and suspects usually get sorted out. If you can succeed at AA, you are at least good enough to make the majors, though obviously not all of them do. As someone that is 23 already, it should be a good test for him once he gets there and I wouldn’t expect him to be over-matched. It’s just a matter of whether or not his stuff with play at the upper levels.

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by 2.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a 5.5 game lead for the top wild card spot.

Indianapolis is 3-7 in their last ten games. They have a two game lead in their division.

Altoona is 5-5 in their last ten games and they are two games behind first place with Bowie.

Bradenton and West Virginia did not win their first half title. Their second half records are included below in the schedule.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates are now on their All-Star break until Friday night, when they start a three-game series in Milwaukee.

In the minors, there are only three games on the schedule today, with play going on in the DSL, GCL and West Virginia. Indianapolis is now on their All-Star break. They will be represented by Elias Diaz, Alen Hanson and Blake Wood in the All-Star game on Wednesday night. Altoona is also on their All-Star break. They will be represented by Josh Bell, Max Moroff, Dan Gamache, Jason Creasy and Adam Frazier. Bradenton, Morgantown and Bristol have the day off. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (53-35) @ Brewers (38-52) 8:10 PM 7/17
Probable starter: TBD

AAA: Indianapolis (52-39) @ Toledo (40-51) 7:00 PM 7/16 (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD

AA: Altoona (48-41) @ Richmond (45-43) 7:05 PM 7/16 (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD

High-A: Bradenton (43-46, 11-8 second half) @vs Lakeland (39-48) 6:30 PM 7/15 (season preview)
Probable starter: Jayson Aquino (4.11 ERA, 18:43 BB/SO, 65.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (50-37, 13-5 second half) vs Hagerstown (44-42) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter:  Alex McRae (4.00 ERA, 15:57 BB/SO, 81.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (10-13) vs State College (11-12) 7:05 PM 7/15 (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (7-11) vs Bluefield (7-13) 7:00 PM 7/15 (season preview)
Probable Starter:  Billy Roth (6.23 ERA, 6:15 BB/SO, 13.0 IP)

GCL: Pirates (13-6) vs Astros (5-13) 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (15-23) vs Mets2 (23-15) 10:30 AM (season preview)

Highlights

Here is a hit from All-Star Adam Frazier, who extended his hit streak to 15 games with this single up the middle.

Recent Transactions

7/13: Wilfredo Boscan sent to Indianapolis.

7/13: Seth McGarry assigned to Morgantown.

7/13: Omar Basulto assigned to GCL. Mike Wallace transferred from GCL to Bristol.

7/12: Wilfredo Boscan recalled. Steve Lombardozzi optioned to Indianapolis.

7/10: Pirates sign Ike Schlabach and assign him to GCL.

7/10: Pirates sign Tate Scioneaux and assign him to Morgantown.

7/10: Jesus Paredes promoted to Morgantown. Oderman Rocha sent to GCL.

7/9: Pirates sign Sherton Apostel.

7/9: Mike Wallace sent from Bristol to GCL.

7/7: Clay Holmes added to Bradenton roster. Harold Ramirez placed on temporary inactive list.

7/7: Trace Tam Sing added to West Virginia roster. Tito Polo placed on temporary inactive list.

7/6: Josh Harrison placed on disabled list. Travis Ishikawa added to active roster.

7/6: Justin Seller assigned to GCL on rehab.

7/5: Pirates claim Travis Ishikawa on waivers.

7/4: Pirates sign five international players.

7/3: Pirates sign Kevin Sanchez and Samuel Inoa.

7/3: Pirates trade Clayton Richard to Chicago Cubs for cash considerations.

7/2: Chris Volstad sent outright to Indianapolis.

7/2: Pirates sign Larry Alcime Jr and Kyle Simmons.

7/1: Alen Hanson activated from disabled list. John Holdzkom and Hunter Morris placed on disabled list.

7/1: Paul Brands assigned to GCL Pirates from DSL.

6/30: Corey Hart sent on rehab to Indianapolis.

6/30: Jose Tabata outrighted to Indianapolis.

This Date in Pirates History

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one of the better pitchers from the early years of the Pirates. Jesse Tannehill pitched for Pittsburgh from 1897 until 1902, starring on the first two teams in franchise history to finish first in the National League. Tannehill was a star during his day, going 197-117 in his career and 116-58 during his time with the Pirates. No one in team history with more than 650 innings, has a better winning percentage. From 1898 until 1902, he won at least 20 games in all but one season. That one year he didn’t, he won 18 games and led the NL with a 2.18 ERA. One interesting note about his career can be found on Baseball-Reference, where they list the most comparable players. For Tannehill, the top five are the other three pitchers in the 1902 rotation, Sam Leever, Deacon Phillippe and Jack Chesbro, plus Babe Adams and Ed Morris, who both made their name with the Pirates.

As for the other five former players, we have third baseman Jose Hernandez(2003,06), pitcher Earl Francis(1960-64), pitcher Bob Purkey(1954-57, 1966), utility fielder Jack Farmer(1916) and 1913-15 pitcher Joe Conzelman. More on them can be found in the link above.

Also in the above link, there is a recap of a wild game between the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds from the 1974 season that turned the year around for Pittsburgh. They were 12 games under .500 going into the game and went 51-25 the rest of the way.

  • BallHeadWonder
    July 15, 2015 8:00 pm

    Thank you John and Tim….I can’t wait for him to get to Altoona!! He has been a Beast!! I just think it is a Feel Good Story for a 32nd Round Draft Pick from Little Ole Bethune Cookman College in Fla. I have been on the Bandwagon since Day 1 because I seen him in College!! I was Super Excited when my favorite team drafted him!!! #AltoonaMontana

  • Why would you think he would go from WVA to Altoona, are we skipping over Bradenton? That’s a pretty sizeable jump from a quality perspective isn’t it?

  • Thanks john, and for that scratchy robe problem try talcum powder. : )

  • Total odd lot question, but hoping you can help, since I haven’t been able to find game details.
    Setting: July 15, 1967, Bucs in St. Louis for a series, with Bob Gibson on the mound and he is knocking backing back and dusting various Pirates. According to a first person account, Manny Mota says that Clemente was PO’d and said he was going to get Gibson.
    Next at bat, Clemente hits a line drive up the middle, smacking Gibson above the ankle; three batters latter Gibson collapses with a broken leg and leaves the game and goes on DL.
    Here’s my question. I think I remember Gibson knocking Clemente down or back and Roberto “retaliating.”
    Can anyone confirm (details from Press or PG, which are inaccessible to me through their “morgue”) if Clemente was brushed back or knocked down by Gibson earlier in the game????
    FYI, All of this was prompted when Cutch got hit and mumbled something about getting the pitchers who were throwing at him!!!

    • On July 15,1967 the Pirates played a doubleheader in Philadelphia. They faced Gibson the day before, but he pitched a complete game and it was in Pittsburgh, not St Louis

      • Thank you, John, I guess I had the date wrong. But, you’re not off the answer hook, yet.
        The Clemente breaking Gibson’s leg with a line drive, is well known and well documented.
        Can you tell me, if–before Clemente’s hit connected with Gibson’s limb– did Gibby knock down Roberto or dust him?

        • Hardly the greatest source, but here’s the Wikipedia description of the “incident.”
          *****************************************************************

          The Cardinals built a three and half game lead prior to the 1967 season All-Star break, and Gibson pitched the seventh and eighth innings of the 1967 All-Star game. Gibson then faced the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 15, when Roberto Clemente hit a line drive off Gibson’s right leg.[39] Unaware his leg had been fractured, Gibson faced three more batters before his right fibula bone snapped above the ankle.[40] After Gibson returned on September 7, the Cardinals secured the National League pennant on September 18, 10½ games ahead of the San Francisco Giants.[41][42][43]

          • John Dreker
            July 14, 2015 7:36 pm

            Actually the date is right, the newspaper I used was labeled wrong, so wikipedia was fine in this case. Unfortunately, that day’s paper isn’t available. Checked a Cardinals site too and they are missing that day. All I know is that he didn’t hit anyone, but he did walk four batters in 3.1 innings, so he may have just been wild that day

            • Here is the Manny Mota memory of Roberto, in which he mentions the Cards game and the Gibby brush backs.
              (This site won’t accept the link??? If you can give me another email address, I’ll send it to you.)

              But, MM’s memory also could be a bit faded.

              All of those papers beign unavailable is fluky!!

  • It’s about time that he is being recognized for what he is accomplishing. We all want radar gun readings in the high 90’s and a very tall and large man doing it, but I always said its command that makes the pitcher great. Since he can put the ball where he wants it I don’t see him having a problem moving up the ladder. If AA is where the test is for him, then give him the chance to ace it. Wish he makes it so that it will give other smaller players someone to emulate.
    On another subject, can we get some scouting reports on all the international signings to date?

  • What is his arsenal? I’m not saying that you can’t have success with low 90’s as a reliever but what is it that makes him so successful? Excellent offspeed stuff and excellent control? How is he putting up these crazy numbers?

    • Not comparing him to Greg Maddux at all, but excellent off speed stuff AND control/command will get you a long way. Whatever disrupts a hitter’s timing. Just about every major leaguer out there can hit heat.

      At worst, he is Jeff Karstens?

      • If he doesn’t turn out to be Greg Maddux now I’m going to be furious. These are now my expectations. I loved Karstens by the way but he could never get through 7 it seems. Does this guy have a strikeout pitch or dynamite slider or something?

        • Not sure what he is throwing in relief, but as a starter he had a four-pitch combo that he could throw everything for strikes. Last time we had someone see him, he threw one inning and it was very quick with all fastballs. Same thing happened the previous time, less than ten pitches each time, so that doesn’t tell you much except he threw strikes

          Usually in relief, you scrap the worst pitch because you’re facing guys once, so you don’t need to show them different pitches to keep them guessing. Command of multiple pitches helps a lot at the lower levels, but we have seen many players like that get sorted out at the upper levels.

        • He’s got a good cutter. That has been his out pitch in Bradenton.

      • Jeff Karstens had a 93 MPH fastball….

      • Can we please not mention maddux, smoltz or glavine, I still have nightmares.

  • How is his last name pronounced?

  • Brewers will take him in Rule 5 🙂

  • John….well, duhhhhhhhhhhh….I’ve been talking up Montana Du for about a year now.

    Nobody EVER listens to me.

    sigh.

    • Problem is that he’s old for the levels he’s been at and is dominating them with types of pitches they aren’t accustomed too/experienced enough to perform well against. He doesn’t have the fastball you look for out of the pen, but then again neither does Deolis Guerra and he’s been ok.

      • Guerra was the first guy I thought of because he doesn’t bring much heat but I heard he has very good offspeed stuff. His change up on occasion just drops off which is great. My question below was really will his stuff translate to the majors.

      • Actually, I’ve been talking him up because of his name. If he makes it, that’d be icing on the cake.

        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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