The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired 26-year-old right-handed pitcher Duane Underwood Jr from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor league first baseman Shendrik Apostel. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Carson Fulmer was designated for assignment.
Underwood has spent parts of three seasons in the majors with the Cubs, accumulation one year and 44 days of service time. In 2020, he had a 5.66 ERA and a 4.74 FIP in 20.2 innings over 17 appearances. He had a 1.50 WHIP and a 27:6 SO/BB ratio. Underwood made one big league start in 2018, and he posted a 5.40 ERA, a 4.24 FIP, a 1.37 WHIP and a 13:3 SO/BB ratio in 11.2 innings over 12 appearances in 2019. Prior to the 2016 season, MLB Pipeline ranked him as the 77th best prospect in baseball. He was designated for assignment earlier this week and has no minor league options left. Underwood is a fastball/changeup/curveball pitcher, using all three pitches often. According to Fangraphs, his fastball average 94.6 MPH, his change is 87.2 and the curve is 81.5 MPH.
Apostel has played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, where he has put up an .844 OPS in 68 games. He did not play in 2020 and likely would have spent the 2021 season in the GCL at 21 years old. He’s a huge human at 6’5″, 245, in great shape, with plus raw power. He’s had trouble staying healthy since signing. His older brother Sherten was a member of the Pirates for three years before being traded to the Texas Rangers for Keone Kela.
Fulmer was with the Pirates twice last year without playing, getting picked up off of waivers two times during the season. He spent four partial seasons in the majors with the Chicago White Sox before seeing time with both the Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles in 2020. He has a 6.34 ERA in 105 big league innings. Fulmer is 27 years old.