JUSTIN TOPA, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: March 7, 1991
Height: 6′ 4″
Drafted: 17th Round, 509th Overall, 2013
How Acquired: Draft
College: Long Island University
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Topa was drafted by the Reds in 2012 in the 33rd round, but decided to go back for another year at Long Island University. He redshirted in 2012 after having Tommy John surgery in 2011, so he still had a year of eligibility when the Pirates drafted him. He’s got a projectable frame with a clean, effortless delivery and throws 91-93, touching 95. He throws a good changeup, but his breaking ball hasn’t come back since the surgery. He improved his numbers in 2013 while increasing his innings. Topa signed right after the draft and reported to Jamestown.
Topa pitched exclusively out of the Jamestown bullpen and put up solid numbers across the board. He put up much better numbers against left-handed hitters (.411 OPS) than right-handed hitters (.696 OPS), but that was probably a sample size fluke. Topa allowed only one HR despite not having a high groundball rate. His fastball topped out at 95-96.
Topa opened the season in the West Virginia bullpen, but was pressed into starting service after Luis Heredia got hurt. Apart from a couple of brief disabled list stints, Topa stayed in the rotation until early August, when he moved back to the bullpen following his second DL stint. He mostly struggled, with opponents posting a line of 330/381/491 against him. He was actually better as a starter than in relief; opponents hit .395 against him in the latter role. Both left- and right-handed batters hit him hard.
Despite his struggles in 2014, the Pirates planned to move Topa up to Bradenton in 2015. He wasn’t able to open the season, though, and ended up having Tommy John surgery in May.
Topa returned from the surgery in mid-July, making six relief appearances in the GCL and then four for Bradenton.
The Pirates will probably try Topa at Bradenton in 2017.
|2016: Minor league contract|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2013
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2016
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 6, 2012: Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 33rd round, 1012th overall pick.
June 8, 2013: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th round, 509th overall pick; signed on June 12.