Morning Report: More Than Just a Cool Name, DuRapau Can Pitch

Every year, has their Moniker Madness, which is going on right now. They pick out interesting names from around the minors and let fans pick the best one. Not surprisingly, Pirates 2014 draft pick Montana DuRapau was on the ballot. The 32nd round pick out of Bethune-Cookman is going to make a name for himself if he keeps pitching like he has this year for Jamestown.

DuRapau will make his tenth start of the season tonight. He has also pitched four times in relief. In 51 total innings, he has a 2.29 ERA, with a .247 BAA, 1.08 WHIP, a 1.10 GO/AO ratio and a 44:7 K/BB ratio. Those are great stats for anyone, but probably a lot better than you would expect from someone drafted in the 32nd round. After the draft picks were done, my favorite late round draft pick was 31st rounder Luis Paula. I still feel like he has the most potential among players taken in the last 25 rounds, but DuRapau is pitching better than Paula and at a higher level.

The Pirates took two pitchers from Bethune-Cookman this year and both are looking great early. We profiled John Sever last week and pointed out his high strikeout rate. He is obviously pitching well, though it’s at Bristol, which is a step down in talent from the NYPL competition that DuRapau is facing.

It’s difficult to see future success from DuRapau, even with the early results. He was a college senior this year, turning 22 back in March. That makes his about a year and a half older than the average age in the NYPL. He is also a small righty, who doesn’t throw hard. Scouting reports had him topping out at 88 MPH with his fastball. He throws a four-pitch mix and has strong control, both of which are contributing to his early success.

One thing that also doesn’t look good for DuRapau is that he went undrafted last year after a solid junior season at Bethune-Cookman. He also wasn’t ranked anywhere coming into this draft. The odds seem stacked against him, but what he has done so far shows that you can’t just write him off yet. He has succeeded in the starting role, giving up one earned run or less in 11 of his 13 appearances. He’s going to have to show that he can handle the starting role at higher levels before he gets respect in the prospect rankings, but so far, he is definitely on the right track.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

Pittsburgh: The Pirates are 4.5 games behind St. Louis for the first Wild Card spot. They are 1.5 games behind San Francisco for the second spot. They are currently six games back from the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

Indianapolis: The Indians will be eliminated from the playoffs with one loss in their last seven games, or one win by both Pawtucket(Wild Card) and Columbus(division).

Bradenton: The Marauders are in second place  in the Florida State League South, one game ahead of Fort Myers and they trail Palm Beach by a 1/2 game. They need to win the second half division to make the playoffs, unless Fort Myers wins the second half title. Fort Myers won the first half title, so if they also win the second half, then the team with the second best overall record would make the playoffs. In the overall standings, Bradenton is 1.5 games behind Palm Beach for the second best record. The Marauders have six games left in their season, two against Fort Myers.

Today’s Schedule

Minor League Starter of the Day:  Down in the Gulf Coast League, 2014 11th round draft pick Gage Hinsz will make his last regular season appearance. He got a late start as the last draft pick to sign this year. Hinsz has made one relief appearance and one start, totaling just four innings pitched. We posted an article on Hinsz following his only start, with video of every pitch he threw during his 2.1 innings. That can be viewed here. Cody Dickson has been named the starter for West Virginia. The DSL season ended Saturday. You can read the final weekly recap here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (67-64) vs Cardinals (71-59) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (3.69 ERA, 84:33 K/BB, 92.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (68-69) vs Louisville (66-71) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: A.J. Morris (4.50 ERA, 20:9 K/BB, 28 IP)

AA: Altoona (56-78) vs Richmond (75-60) 7:00 PM
Probable starterThomas Harlan (3.24 ERA, 23:13 K/BB, 50 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (73-60, 38-26 2nd half) vs Ft Myers (78-55) 6:30 PM
Probable starterChad Kuhl (3.33 ERA, 92:40 K/BB, 143.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (51-78, 31-30 2nd half) @ Lexington (55-78) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (4.05 ERA, 95:55 K/BB, 122.1 IP)

Short-Season A: Jamestown (31-37) @ Auburn (31-37) 7:05 PM
Probable StarterMontana DuRapau (2.29 ERA, 44:7 K/BB, 51 IP)

RK: Bristol (20-44) vs Elizabethton (36-28) 7:00 PM
Probable Starter:  TBD

GCL: Pirates (18-38) vs Blue Jays (18-37) 12:00 PM
Probable StarterGage Hinsz (4.50 ERA, 2:2 K/BB, 4 IP)

DSL: Pirates (34-36)


Andrew Lambo is becoming a regular on the highlights, hitting five homers in his last five games. He hit the fourth one on Sunday, then added his tenth homer for Indianapolis on Monday. The Sunday shot is shown below.

Pedro Alvarez went deep during last night’s 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. This was his 18th homer of the season, exactly half as many as he hit last year when he led the NL in homers.

Recent Transactions

8/25: Alen Hanson placed on disabled list. Drew Maggi activated from DL.

8/25: Clint Barmes activated from disabled list. Gregory Polanco sent to Indianapolis.

8/25: Jose Tabata added to 40-man roster and promoted to Pittsburgh. Jayson Nix designated for assignment.

8/25: Jonathan Schwind assigned to GCL on rehab.

8/24: Pirates claim Bobby LaFromboise. Designate Tommy Field for assignment.

8/21: Stolmy Pimentel assigned to Altoona on rehab.

8/21: Yunelky Adames released.

8/21: Oderman Rocha and Nathan Sopena promoted to Jamestown.

8/21: Julio Vivas promoted to Bristol.

8/21: Andrew Dennis placed on disabled list.

8/21: Indianapolis places Nevin Ashley and Blake Davis on disabled list.

8/21: Wirfin Obispo clears waivers. Outrighted to Indianapolis.

8/20: Gerrit Cole activated from disabled list. Brent Morel assigned to Indianapolis.

8/20: Jacoby Jones placed on disabled list. Francisco Diaz activated from DL.

8/20: Felipe Gonzalez promoted to Bradenton. Jake Burnette promoted to West Virginia.

8/20: Matt Curry assigned to Altoona. Drew Maggi placed on disabled list.

8/19: Andrew McCutchen activated from disabled list. Michael Martinez sent to Indianapolis.

8/19: Josh Bell placed on disabled list. Ralph Henriquez activated from DL.

8/19: Adam Wilk placed on disabled list.

This Date in Pirates History

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players were born on this date, and one major trade of note happened 11 years ago. On this date in 2003, the Pirates traded Brian Giles to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Jason Bay, Oliver Perez and Corey Stewart.

On this date in 1992, rookie Tim Wakefield took on veteran Tom Candiotti in a match-up of knuckleball pitchers. You can read small bios on infielders Jeff Richardson and Sparky Adams, as well as details on the Giles/Bay trade and the 1992 knuckleball game here.

On this date in 1902, the Pirates swept the Boston Beaneaters in a doubleheader to move to 80-27 on the season. That team went 23-9 the rest of the season and finished with the best record in team history. You can read more about that 1902 club here.

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.

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Lee Young

John….thanks…I never knew there was a “Moniker Madness” contest.

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