Five members of the 2017 Altoona Curve team were named Eastern League All Stars Wednesday afternoon with each earning their first mid-season all-star nod of their careers with their selections. With five selections Altoona is tied for most all-star selections in the league.
The Altoona Curve members who will be suiting up for the western division in the 2017 Eastern League edition of the mid-summer classic will be pitchers Alex McRae and Montana DuRapau, infielders Kevin Kramer and Wyatt Mathisen, and outfielder Jordan Luplow.
Players were selected by a combination of Eastern League managers and media as well as a fan vote with McRae and Luplow earning their nods via the fan vote.
McRae, in his second season with the Curve, has been nearly lights out this season with some of his best pitching come in his last three outings allowing only 6 earned runs and reaching the seventh inning twice. The three recent outings have followed up an abysmal start against the Richmond Flying Squirrels where McRae gave up 7 earned runs in the 5 1/3 innings he was on the mound.
Currently, McRae’s 6-3 record is tied for the lead in wins among those in the Pirates’ system. The Jacksonville University product has made 15 starts this season accumulating a 3.58 ERA.
DuRapau has a record breaking season so far for the Curve as the closer set the franchise record for saves May 19th, a record he has now stretched to 33. Appearing in 23 games for Altoona in his second season with the Curve, DuRapau is 2-2 with a 1.38 ERA.
DuRapau has finished league-leading 22 games while also accumulating 11 saves in 12 chances leading both the league and Pirates’ farm system in that category. DuRapau’s ‘ready for anything’ approach has allowed him to have the success he’s had thus far as he finds himself in the Eastern League All Star Classic and as the anchor in a strong Altoona bullpen.
Kramer has been on the disabled list with a broken hand since June 11th, but prior to being hurt, the second baseman was tearing the cover off the ball with a .297 average good enough to be tops in the Pirates’ farm system.
The UCLA product has hit six home runs this season with 27 RBIs and while it looks as though Kramer will not be participating on the field, he will be returning following the All Star break.
Mathisen has been one of this season’s biggest surprises for Altoona as the third baseman is hitting .290. The 2012 second-round pick earned his first All Star nod also by hitting three home runs and driving in 18 runs.
Luplow has been on a tear this season for the Altoona Curve as he has powered his way to a team-leading total of 16 home runs to go with his .291 average. We profiled the new-found power surge earlier this month here at piratesbreakdown.com.
With each home run and hit, Luplow continues his trek up the prospect charts in hopes of reaching the next level. As the summer gets hotter, look for Luplow to continue his steady hand for Altoona as the Curve get primed for the playoffs.
All Star festivities will begin at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, NH., Tuesday, July 11th with the home run derby and celebrity softball game. Eastern League all stars will take the field Wednesday, July 12th for the E.L. All Star Game.