The Pittsburgh Pirates have had their fair share of bullpen issues already this season. They are calling up a relief prospect to try to help.
Entering the 2019 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen was supposed to be a strength. However, that has not been the case. The team has seen some of their relievers regress like Richard Rodriguez and Keone Kela. Meanwhile, the team has battled some injuries as well. Edgar Santana is out for the season, emerging arm Nick Burdi damaged a nerve, and Keone Kela is having trouble pitching a lot of innings. Plus the team already saw setup man Kyle Crick on the Injury List early this season.
The bullpen has struggled and been injury riddle through the first month. It really caught up to them against the Texas Rangers when they saw recently promoted Michael Feliz give up a game-tying grand slam. Clint Hurdle should have pulled Feliz after he walked the bases loaded, but with a lack of bullpen depth, he tried to stick with the struggling righty.
After the game, and according to Jon Heyman, the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to their Triple-A prospect depth to try to help the big league bullpen. Heyman tweeted tonight that the team is calling up one of their top relief prospects, Montana DuRapau. Heyman’s tweet:
DuRapau is a right-handed relief prospect who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 32nd round of the 2014 draft out of Bethune-Cookman University in Florida. He has steadily climbed the minor league ladder and has outperformed his draft spot. He has turned into a decent relief prospect who at this point should help the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 5’11’ righty started the year in Triple-A Indianapolis where he has been very good. The 27-year-old has appeared in 12 games and has thrown 14.1 innings, where has only yielded one earned run which is good for a 0.63 ERA. Meanwhile, he has punched out an impressive 18 batters while walking five. Also, he has recorded three saves in three opportunities.
DuRapau will not blow any hitters away despite his high strikeout rate. His fastball is actually a cut fastball that sits in the low 90s. He also throws a changeup and breaking pitch. What makes him effective is that he is great at locating his pitches and he has a deceptive arm slot.
At this point, the Bucs just need some arms that can help out and eat some innings. Michael Feliz is taxed at this point and Keone Kela looks like he is being given a “rest.” DuRapau has an opportunity to earn a bullpen job for the rest of the season with no real idea of what the future might hold for Nick Burdi, who is being reevaluated in about four weeks.
*No official announcement or roster moves have been made