The Pirates are set to select the contract of right-handed reliever Montana DuRapau, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports (via Twitter). It’ll be the MLB debut for the former 32nd-round pick when he first takes the mound for the Buccos.
DuRapau, 27, will add a fresh arm to the Pirates’ bullpen for their upcoming series against the division-rival Cardinals (and will also continue the storied lineage of Bucco relievers with 80-grade names, following in the footsteps of Arquimedes Caminero and Dovydas Neverauskas). The righty enjoyed a terrific 2017 season between Double-A and Triple-A in the Pirates organization before stumbling between those same two levels last season when posted a combined ERA north of 5.00.
This year, he’s off to a fantastic start in Triple-A, having yielded just one earned run on five hits and five walks (one intentional) with 18 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings of work. DuRapau has been a pronounced fly-ball pitcher in each of his first two seasons in the upper minors but has worked to an above-average 46.4 percent ground-ball rate thus far in the 2019 campaign as well. Missing bats has never been much of an issue for DuRapau, as evidenced by his career 9.9 K/9 mark in Double-A and an even more impressive 11.4 K/9 in Triple-A.
The Pirates will need to open a spot on the 40-man roster for DuRapau. Depending on when they feel Lonnie Chisenhall will be ready to go out on a minor league rehab assignment, they could just transfer him to the 60-day injured list, as he’s already been on the 10-day IL for a span of 44 days (and a move to the 60-day would not require resetting him back at one). He’s still not quite ready to run the bases, per MLB.com’s Adam Berry, so he’s a logical candidate for that type of move.