ALTOONA, Pa. – The Pirates are promoting RHP Montana DuRapau to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday. DuRapau has a 1.49 ERA in 36.1 innings this season for the Altoona Curve, only allowing six earned runs all season.

DuRapau has mostly been a closer for the Curve for the last two years, and he is the Altoona franchise leader with 36 saves. He is first in the E.L. with 14 saves this season. Out of relievers with at least 36 innings pitched, his ERA is second in the league, ranking only behind fellow bullpen arm Miguel Rosario.

Overall, he has a 2.73 ERA in his two seasons in Altoona (85.2 IP).

“I don’t think that I’ll send another guy to Triple-A who deserves or has earned it more,” Curve manager Michael Ryan said. “When I called him in today, the look on his face said it all – how proud he was. All the hard work that he’s put in. I’m sure he’s been waiting for that call for a long time. For it finally to come, he was so happy.”

DuRapau isn’t the top prospect who would typically get “pushed” up each minor league level. He was drafted in the 32nd round in 2014 out of Bethune-Cookman, a small college in Daytona Beach. He also isn’t the tallest pitcher in the world. However, as Ryan said it, he has willed himself to Triple-A.

“Hopefully, someday we find him on television because he willed himself to the big leagues,” Ryan said. “That was one of the ones I looked forward to the most. Letting him know he’s going to the next level and watching his facial expressions, that’s what gets me out of bed everyday. He truly earned it.”

DuRapau said that he ended last season with a bad taste in his mouth, allowing five earned runs while recording only one out during his last regular season outing in Richmond. He also took the loss a few games earlier after allowing two run at Harrisburg.

“I ended last year with a bad stint that left a bad taste in my mouth, and I came into this year ready to prove to myself that it was just some bad outings,” DuRapau said.

Prove himself has been an understatement, as he has only allowed runs to score against him in four out of 27 outings. He has a 1.16 WHIP and hasn’t allowed a single home run this season.

He credits his fastball command for having more success this season.

“My fastball command has been a lot better,” he said. “Using it in breaking ball counts, I’ve been sneaking some fastballs by guys that have been unsuspecting. Getting my fastball up has been a quality pitch for me.”

He switched the grip on his cutter to holding it more like a slider, which is a grip he is very familiar with having thrown with it as a kid. He said he has better control of the pitch, and it has movement that is tighter with more depth. With the change, his velocity has gone up, as well.

With Altoona’s closer being promoted, Tate Scioneaux will take over the role as the Curve’s closer for now. Ryan also mentioned Sean Keselica and mixing and matching to find the best combination. Scioneaux profiles as a long reliever in the majors, and that’s what he will probably need to be if he gets to Triple-A, so Ryan doesn’t want to take that role completely away from him this season.

“Right now, we’ll try Tate Scioneaux in that situation, but we also need to get Scioneaux in some other situations throughout the game,” Ryan said. “We’ll try to mix and match and find the best combo It might be a by-committee thing.”

The open spot on the roster will more than likely go to Cody Dickson, who was put on the disabled list last week with an ankle sprain.

Kevin Kramer Progressing

Kevin Kramer left Altoona on Monday for Pirate City in Bradenton, as the Pirates plan to begin him on a “come back to play” program. He should be able to completely remove his brace (broken hand) in about a week or so with the hope that he can return to the Curve in mid-August.

Kramer was hit by a pitch in early June and has been on the disabled list since.

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  1. Tim and John knows I am a DuRapau Fan since he got drafted!! So excited for him!! He has never been a top prospect and never will…but he is a call away!! Waiting to see how he does in AAA!!

    • He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher with marginal control, which normally will severely limit even hard throwers in this league, but I’d be really interested to see his spin rate measurements. He’s got this short, stabby arm action and comes almost straight over the top, so I could see him being one of these high-spin guys that seem to have pitches that “jump” on hitters.

      • So (and feel free to tell me whether or not I’m way off here) you’re saying even though he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher, his spin rate might effect the trajectory on his pitches and he may be successful because hitters may not be squaring up on his pitches? Am I even close here?

        • Sorry, that wasn’t very clear…

          I referenced spin rate not so much as a cause and effect but as a mitigating factor. It’s not at all a good thing to be a fly ball pitcher with marginal control right now, BUT, guys who throw overhand and have sneaky fastball success despite low velo often have high spin rates which give the ball a “rise” effect. Misses more bats than you’d expect, and turns more squared-up fly balls into popups.

          I don’t know if this is what actually leads to his success, but it’s at least a logical path forward.

  2. Nice to see and a good write up. He has been someone to watch going back to being drafted. Great reward for a guy from a lower division school and a very late round draftee.

    • It won’t be long till there will be a post listing the MiLB FAs and Rule 5 eligibles. Just another source provided at P2. Tough decisions ahead.

      • I was just thinking that Rule 5 roster crunch update was due, as that has to play into considerations come trade deadline time right?

        • You are very right.
          Starting pitchers look to be most vulnerable. There are at least half a dozen who either have to make the 40 man, risk losing or be traded.

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