The Cubs announced a move today, trading right-handed pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. to the Pirates for minor league first baseman Shendrick Apostel.
Underwood was a second-round pick of the Cubs in the 2012 draft, the first one conducted by the Theo Epstein-led team. Underwood made his major league debut in a start against the Dodgers in 2018, but the last two seasons he’s pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. In 30 career appearances with the Cubs, Underwood went 1-1 with a 5.20 ERA. Underwood was 1-0 with a 5.66 ERA last year. He struck out an impressive 27 batters in just 20 2⁄3 innings in 2020 and issued just five unintentional walks. His problem was keeping the ball in the park, giving up five home runs in just those 20 2⁄3 innings.
Underwood was out of options and was designated for assignment on Tuesday to open up a roster spot for the return of right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera.
The Pirates thought enough of Underwood to deal Apostel, a 6’5” 20-year old right-handed hitting first baseman from Curacao to obtain him. Apostel played 68 games for the Pirates in the Dominican Summer League in 2018 and 2019. Between the two seasons, he hit .252/.381/.463 with 11 home runs in 218 at-bats. He is the brother of infielder Sherten Apostel, who made his major league debut with the Rangers last season.
We should be able to see Apostel play in Myrtle Beach sometime this summer and of course, we wish the best to Underwood in Pittsburgh, except when he’s pitching against the Cubs.