Montana DuRapau

MONTANA DuRAPAU, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: March 27, 1992
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 175
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 32nd Round, 971st Overall, 2014
How Acquired: Draft
College: Bethune-Cookman University
Agent: N/A
(Photo by: David Hague)

WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE

DuRapau is a small righty who put up outstanding numbers his last two years at Bethune-Cookman.  He doesn’t overpower anybody, but instead relies on locating and mixing his pitches.  In college, he threw four pitches, including a fastball that sat at about 90-91 and edged a little higher.  Pitching as a reliever for the Pirates, he’s thrown about 92-93, with a slider, curve and change.  He tends to pitch up in the strike zone and is a flyball pitcher.  Baseball America did not rank him among either the top 500 draft prospects or the top 98 prospects in Florida.  As a senior DuRapau signed quickly.

2014
A-:  3-2-1, 2.21 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 61.0 IP, 1.2 BB/9, 8.4 K/9

DuRapau pitched mostly in the rotation at Jamestown and was the team’s best starter, along with Tyler Eppler.  He had excellent control and a surprisingly good K rate, especially at the end of the season when he fanned 33 in his last 29 innings.  He had a big platoon split, allowing right-handed batters only a .527 OPS compared to .742 for left-handed batters.

2015
A:  1-0-1, 1.40 ERA, 0.41 WHIP, 19.1 IP, 0.5 BB/9, 8.8 K/9
A+:  4-1-13, 1.40 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 51.1 IP, 1.4 BB/9, 8.2 K/9
AA:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 1.1 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 20.2 K/9

DuRapau had a remarkable season, starting in low A and finishing in AA.  He pitched very well for a month and a half at West Virginia before the Pirates promoted him to Bradenton, where he served as the closer until he got another promotion close to season’s end.  He had good but not great (for a short reliever) K rates, but gave up almost impossibly few hits and walks.  He held hitters to a 117/159/180 line, helped by a .145 BABIP that is extremely unlikely to happen again.  Left-handed batters had even more trouble with him than right-handed batters, with a line of 096/133/138.

2016
AA:  3-3-22, 3.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 49.1 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 9.3 K/9

DuRapau was the closer for Altoona.  He had a weak month of April, then pitched very well until late in the year, when he struggled in August and in one terrible September outing.  His monthly opponents’ OPS was:

April:  .851
May:  .444
June:  .629
July:  .557
Aug/Sept:  .896

He was an extreme flyball pitcher and had some trouble with gopher balls, allowing six.  He had only a mild platoon split.

2017
AA:  2-2-14, 1.49 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 36.1 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 9.7 K/9
AAA:  1-0-1, 3.24 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 16.2 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 12.4 K/9

The Pirates sent DuRapau back to Altoona to open the season.  He continued largely along the same lines as the previous year, except he didn’t allow any HRs.  He continued to be a flyball pitcher, so there’s no obvious explanation for that.  Because it normalizes HR rates, his xFIP was much higher than his ERA at 3.67.  DuRapau moved up to Indianapolis in mid-July and was very effective there, allowing very few baserunners and striking out more batter than ever.  On the season he was extremely tough on right-handed hitters, holding them to a .440 OPS.

2018
AA:  0-1-2, 2.89 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 12.5 K/9
AAA:  1-1-0, 6.33 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 21.1 IP, 4.2 BB/9, 10.5 K/9

DuRapau’s 2018 season was marred by an ill-timed, self-inflicted wound:  He was suspended due to a second positive test for a drug of abuse.  That cost him not only the first 50 games of the season, but a spring training invitation to major league camp.  Once he was available, the Pirates sent DuRapau to Altoona, where he appeared in eight games before moving up.  For whatever reason, he wasn’t as effective at Indianapolis as he had been in 2017.  He probably wasn’t as bad as the ERA looks — he at least maintained a high K rate — but he was hurt by five home runs, or just under one every four innings.

2019
AAA:  2-1-10, 2.14 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 46.1 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 11.1 K/9
MLB:  0-1-0, 9.35 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, 17.1 IP, 4.7 BB/9, 11.4 K/9

DuRapau went back to AAA and dominated in the early going.  With their bullpen in dismal shape in early May, the Pirates called DuRapau up.  He stayed in the majors for several weeks, went back to AAA, and was called up five more times.  He continued to shut down AAA hitters, holding them to a .135 average and missing a lot of bats.  It was a different story in the majors.  Opponents battered him for a 342/422/595 line.  Left-handed hitters put up an OPS of 1.300 and he also had control problems.

DuRapau has a history of getting hitters out and missing a lot of bats in the minors despite not having great stuff.  Nevertheless, pitchers who come up through the minors entirely as relievers are always be viewed skeptically.  He may be a candidate to come off the 40-man roster during the off-season.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2020: Major league minimum
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2014
MLB Debut: 5/9/2019
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2025
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 5/9/2019
Options Remaining: 2 (USED:  2019)
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 7, 2014: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 32nd round, 971st overall pick; signed on June 12.
May 9, 2019: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.