It was reported by Jon Heyman last night that right-handed pitcher Montana DuRapau will be promoted to the Pittsburgh Pirates today. Right-handed pitcher Clay Holmes is reportedly on the way to join the Pirates today as well. We will have more on those moves when they are made official. For now, seven minor league pitchers were moved this morning, including Luis Escobar, who is skipping over Altoona to join the Indianapolis Indians.
Here are the players on the move by each team:
Indianapolis will receive Escobar and Matt Eckelman to replace Holmes and DuRapau.
Altoona will get Joel Cesar from Bradenton to replace Eckelman.
Bradenton will receive Samuel Reyes and Logan Stoelke from Greensboro to replace Escobar and Cesar
Greensboro will get Will Gardner and Cristofer Melendez from Extended Spring Training to replace Stoelke and Reyes.
The top player of interest here is Escobar, who was converted to a relief role this year and dominated, posting an 0.00 ERA. He was one of the top prospects in the system as a starter, hitting 97 MPH with his fastball, while flashing a plus curve and a strong changeup. Control issues held him back, but the switch to relief has been successful so far.
Reyes pitched a scoreless inning last night, giving him an 0.52 ERA, with one run on just four hits in 17.1 innings. Stoelke has a 5.25 ERA this year, but last year’s ninth round pick has some of the best stuff for a reliever in the system. He is among our top 50 prospects in the latest prospect guide.
Cesar has been just as good as Escobar in Bradenton. He has allowed one run on four hits over 12.1 innings. He’s holding opponents to a .100 BAA. Cesar throws hard, sitting 95-96 MPH, but his command isn’t great, which could get him in trouble at the higher levels.
Eckelman pitched in the Arizona Fall League last year, where he struggled, but he has pitched well with Altoona over the last two seasons. He has a 2.21 ERA and a .209 BAA. When he’s ran into trouble there, it’s been over his control, with 22 walks in 36.2 innings.
Melendez was acquired over the off-season during the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. This will be his first action in regular games in the U.S. He spent four seasons in the DSL, where he had a 1.54 ERA in 70.1 innings last year. He throws 90-91 MPH with a splitter and a slider that are both excellent pitches.
Gardner was featured here over the winter. He was drafted in the 21st round last year and split the season between Bristol and Morgantown, posting a 1.75 ERA.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.