||Born: March 21, 1983
Height: 6′ 4″
Drafted: 22nd Round, 650th Overall, 2006
How Acquired: Draft
College: Northwestern State University
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Durham wasn’t an outstanding hitter in college, not even as a senior. The Pirates drafted him as part of a pattern in the last couple years under Dave Littlefield of loading up in the draft on college outfielders, often seniors, with modest hitting credentials, a practice that made no sense and produced nothing of value. He’s improved a lot in right over time and has a very good arm. As he moved up, though, he increasingly played firstbase, depending on the other players on the team. His speed is roughly average and he’s done well stealing bases in some years.
Durham was part of amazingly bad collection of hitters at Williamsport. The team OPS of .592 was last in the league. Durham himself managed only .540, with terrible walk and K numbers.
Returned to the New York-Penn League, this time at State College, and hit a little better.
Finally started to hit as a 25-year-old playing in low A, although his plate discipline remained weak. After a little over half a season, he moved up to Lynchburg and struggled.
Returned to Lynchburg and combined with Pedro Alvarez, when Alvarez wasn’t slumping, and Kris Watts to provide Lynchburg with a strong middle of the lineup. His plate discipline was still marginal. He played right, with Matt Hague at first. He was promoted to Altoona along with Alvarez and started off well, hitting .330 in July. He slumped the rest of the way, though, as pitchers started taking more and more advantage of his tendency to chase offspeed stuff out of the strike zone. He played first at Altoona because Jose Tabata was in right.
Durham returned to Altoona as the regular rightfielder. He hit just passably, continuing to struggle with offspeed stuff, but at least started showing more willingness to take pitches. He drew easily his career high in walks, but also fanned about once for every three and a half ABs.
Opened the season playing first for Altoona, but moved up to Indianapolis about a third of the way into the season to replace the demoted Andrew Lambo and played right in AAA most of the rest of the season. He hit very little at either level. His plate discipline regressed; between the two levels he had about four and a half strikeouts to every walk.
Durham divided his time in the first half of the season between Altoona and Indianapolis, mostly the former. He played mainly in right, but also saw time at the other two outfield positions and at first. In AA, he bounced back from his rough 2011 season and hit about like he formerly had. The Pirates released him at mid-season and he caught on with St. Paul of the independent American Association, where he didn’t hit especially well.
The Pirates signed Durham for the 2013 season. It’s not clear whether he’ll be a player or primarily a coach. Because Bradenton’s outfielders all struggled in 2012, Altoona is likely to be short in that area, so they may have signed him as a player.