Pittsburgh Pirates Officially Promote Montana DuRapau

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

After news broke on Wednesday that the Pittsburgh Pirates would promote a top reliever prospect to the MLB level, the move is now official.

Wednesday night, word broke that the Pittsburgh Pirates plan to promote one of their top relief prospect to the MLB level when Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Pirates planned to promote Montana DuRapau. This roster move is now official.

DuRapau joins the 25-man roster a day after set up man Keone Kela was placed on the 10-day injured list with shoulder soreness. Kela became the 18th Pirates to spend time on the IL this season tying the team record for players to spend time on the IL, formerly DL, in a single season. Since it is only May 9th, unfortunately, this record should be shattered this season.

DuRapau joins the MLB club after getting off to a great start at Triple-A this season. In 14 1/3 innings pitched for Indianapolis, DaParau owned a 0.63 ERA, 2.71 FIP, a 9.1% walk rate, and a 32.7% strikeout rate. His ground ball rate was 46.6%, and all five hits he allowed were singles.

The Pirates are hopeful that DuRapau can provide a much needed shot in the arm to a struggling bullpen. Only four members of the team’s Opening Day bullpen are currently pitching in relief for the Pirates. Of those four, only Francisco Liriano, Kyle Crick, and Felipe Vazquez have been pitching successfully this season.

As the team embarks on an 11-game road trip in the next step of their 13 games in 13 day stretch, the bullpen is thin. Odds are, Richard Rodriguez, Michael Feliz, Tyler Lyons, and Liriano will all be available against St. Louis tonight due to usage the past two days. So, DuRapau may not have to wait long to make his MLB debut.

DuRapau first reached the Triple-A level in 2017 and posted a 3.24 ERA, 3.22 FIP, and a 37.1% strikeout rate in 16 2/3 innings pitched. In January of 2018, DuRapau was suspended 50 games for a drug violation. If not for this, odds are, he would have made his MLB debut at some point last season.

In addition to promoting DuRapau, the Pirates have also recalled reliever Clay Holmes. In 15 2/3 innings pitched for Indy this season Holmes has had major issues with control. He’s walked more batters (15) than he has struck out (13), he’s hit a batter, and he’s allowed a home run. All of this has led to Holmes owning a 6.32 ERA and a 5.99 FIP this season.

Last season, Holmes appeared in 11 games for the Pirates (4 starts) and was plagued by his control issues. In 26 1/3 MLB innings he walked 23, struck out 21, and owned a 6.84 ERA and a 5.40 FIP.

While it’s tough to expect Holmes to pitch well for the Pirates, it’s a fresh arm that will be available to cover multiple innings if need be. Right now, the team needs that in a bad way.

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To make room for DuRapau on the 40-man roster, fellow reliever Nick Burdi was transferred to the 60-day IL. Prior to suffering nerve damage against the Diamondbacks on April 22nd Burdi was off to a great start this season. Unfortunately, his injury will keep him out for the long haul.

To clear a spot on the 25-man roster for Holmes veteran lefty Tyler Lyons was designated for assignment. In 4 innings pitched this season, Lyons owned an 11.25 ERA and a 6.13 FIP.