Altoona Curve Best Players of All Time

Kevin Smith

The Altoona Curve are a Minor League Baseball team from the small city of Altoona, Pennsylvania. The Curve have been making big moves since their founding in 1999 and continue to be an important part of both the Eastern League and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations today. Named after nearby Horseshoe Curve (but also alluding to baseball’s famous curveball pitch), they play home games at Peoples Natural Gas Field where 7,210 fans can enjoy the game. With talented players and successful teams, it is no surprise that fans come out in droves for every contest.

Table of Contents

1. Elías Díaz


Elías Díaz

Díaz was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela and played most of his minor league baseball with the Rockies. Díaz became a full-time catcher for Colorado in 2018 and has been hugely praised by fans and coaches for his defensive skills behind the plate.

In 122 career games, including 121 starts at catcher, Díaz has compiled a .289 batting average with eight home runs and 37 RBIs. Elías Díaz made his MLB debut on September 12, 2015 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

In his rookie season with the Pirates, Elías batted an average of .243 while hitting 42 home runs and 186 RBIs. He was traded to the Colorado Rockies in 2020 and has since played a key role in their playoff run this year.

Also Played For: venezuela baseball

2. Adam Hyzdu

Adam Hyzdu

Adam Hyzdu was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of the 1990 amateur draft. He made his MLB debut with the team in 2000 and played for them until 2003.

After leaving Pittsburgh, he spent time with a number of other teams before retiring after the 2007 season. Adam is currently an analyst for Fox Sports Midwest where he provides analysis on baseball games as well as doing studio shows on different topics relating to sports.

Adam has two children and lives in St Louis, Missouri Adam Hyzdu was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2000 and made his MLB debut with them in 2003. 

He played for the Boston Red Sox from 2004 to 2005 before moving on to San Diego Padres, where he achieved some success including a Gold Glove award in 2006.

In 2007, he signed with the Texas Rangers and had an up-and-down career there before being traded back to Japan in 2009. 

After playing for Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks again since 2010, Hyzdu retired as a player at the end of 2017 season having amassed over 2,000 hits during his 14 year professional career.

3. Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan

Mike Ryan was drafted in the 6th round of the 1997 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox. He played for four teams over 13 seasons, including 4 years with the Cincinnati Reds and 2 years with the Baltimore Orioles.

In 2010 he became a manager, joining the Tampa Bay Rays as their bench coach before being promoted to Manager in August 2015. Mike Ryan has led his team to an 86-76 record in two full seasons as manager (2016-17).

Michael Ryan was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the first round of the 2002 MLB Draft. Michael played for the Twins from 2002 to 2005, before signing with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2010. In 2006, he won a Silver Slugger Award as one of baseball's best offensive catchers.

He retired after playing his final game for the Angels on June 14th, 2010. After retiring from baseball, Michael became an analyst with ESPN and ABC Sports affiliates across America.

4. Charlie Morton


Charlie Morton Career

  • 2× All-Star (2018, 2019), 2× World Series champion (2017, 2021), All-MLB Second Team (2019)

Morton spent his entire career with the Atlanta Braves before being traded to the Houston Astros in 2018. Morton has a 111-114 record and a 3.82 ERA over his career, mainly pitching for the National League teams.

He was voted into the All-Star Game in 2009, 2011, and 2016 while playing for Atlanta but did not participate this year due to injury. Morton is most famous for leading the Braves to their first playoff appearance in 14 years during the 2014 season where he went 7-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 15 starts (170 innings).

Injuries have been an issue throughout much of Morton's career; he has had multiple surgeries on both knees including Tommy John surgery which limited him to just 26 appearances in 2017 and 18 appearances so far this year with Houston despite having returned from injury earlier this year.

Also Played For: atlanta braves

5. Ryan Vogelsong


Ryan Vogelsong Career

  • All-Star (2011), 2× World Series champion (2012, 2014), San Francisco Giants Wall of Fame

Vogelsong is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who most recently played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Vogelsong was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2000 and made his MLB debut with them that year.

After spending four seasons with the Giants, Vogelsong signed with the Tigers in 2007 where he spent two seasons before returning to San Francisco. In 2009, Vogelsong signed with the Buffaloes of NPB and had a successful stint there until he returned to MLB with Pittsburgh in 2016.

In his career, Vogelsong has posted an impressive 61-75 record while logging more than 2200 innings pitched across all levels of baseball (MLB/NPB). Vogelsong was a three-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion with the San Francisco Giants. 

Vogelsong had an extensive career in Japan, where he won championships with the Hanshin Tigers and Orix Buffaloes.

After spending time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Vogelsong rejoined his former team in San Francisco for the 2016 season.

6. Montana DuRapau


Montana DuRapau

Montana DuRapau is a 30-year-old pitcher who plays for the Altoona Curve in the Independent Baseball League. DuRapau attended Florida State University, where he played college baseball for the Seminoles.

He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2012, but did not sign and instead opted to play professionally with the Curve. 

In 2017, DuRapau led all pitchers in innings pitched (136), complete games (4), and shutouts (1) while posting a 3.01 ERA over 33 appearances with Altoona.

DuRapau has been described as having an " overpowering" fastball that can reach speeds of 96 mph or higher, as well as an excellent slider and changeup which help him dominate batters at any level he pitches at. 

Montana Rapau is one of just six players ever to record 100 strikeouts in both his junior and senior seasons of high school ball; additionally, he finished his collegiate career ranked fourth all time on FSU's career strikeout list.

While it may be some time before we see him pitch again in The majors due to his age being 30 years old now , what little footage there is from his days pitching collegiately speaks volumes about this arm talent that should only continue developing.

7. Tyler Glasnow


Tyler Glasnow

Glasnow is a 29-year-old right-handed pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays. He was drafted by the Rays in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft and made his debut in 2015.

Glasnow has had success both as a starter and reliever, amassing a record of 82–60 with an ERA of 3.26 in 191 games (183 starts). 

Glasnow's fastball tops out at 97 mph, but he also throws a hard slider and changeup which can be devastating when used correctly.

His control often wavers though, leading to high walk totals and home run rates; however, he has shown flashes of brilliance that have led him to being one of baseball's most highly coveted pitchers on the market. 

As one half of arguably baseball's best young pitching duo alongside Chris Archer – who was acquired from Tampa Bay earlier this season – Glasnow is likely to continue making waves for many years to come if he can iron out some rough edges in his game.

8. Harold Ramirez


Harold Ramirez

Harold Ramirez was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Ramírez made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Rays that same year, posting a .269 batting average with six home runs and 38 RBIs in 53 games.

In 2015, Ramirez spent time with both High-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery, finishing the season ranked fourth among all minor league hitters in slugging percentage (.560) and fifth in doubles (33). 

He again led all minor leaguers in slugging percentage (minimum 150 plate appearances) during 2016 while also ranking third in doubles behind only José Altuve and Robinson Canó of the Houston Astros.

The 2017 campaign saw Ramirez post arguably his best season yet as he batted .313/.382/.533 with 28 home runs, 97 RBIs, and 101 walks across 117 games between three different levels of baseball including Triple-A Durham.

Where he won Minor League Player of the Year honors unanimously from Baseball America magazine. 

After being acquired by Toronto on July 31st for left fielder Kevin Pillar, Ramirez made his major league debut on August 4th at Yankee Stadium going 1 for 3 with a walk before being pinch hit for later that night against Masahiro Tanaka.

He recorded his first big league hit two innings later off Dellin Betances to score José Bautista from second base he finished 2 for 5 overall hitting seventh inning double off closer Aroldis Chapman giving Torontonians their first victory over Yankees since 2004.

9. Chris Stewart


Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 5th round of the 2002 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut with them in 2006 and played for them until 2018.

In total, he appeared in 621 games over that span, accumulating a .248 batting average with 7 home runs and 51 RBIs. Stewart signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a free agent in 2018 and has since appeared in just 12 games (.111 batting average, 1 HR, 3 RBI).

Chris Stewart batted over .250 in each of his first four seasons with the Chicago White Sox. In 2006, Stewart was named to the American League All-Star Team and finished second in MVP voting behind Roy Halladay. 

The 2007 season proved to be a breakout year for Chris Stewart as he hit 36 home runs and won a Silver Slugger Award.

After being traded to the Texas Rangers midway through the 2008 season, Stewart continued his strong play by hitting 34 homeruns and posting an on-base percentage of .455. 

Following offseason surgery that caused him to miss most of 2009, Stewarts 2010 campaign was marred by injuries but still managed 33 home runs and 101 RBIs en route to winning another Silver Slugger Award nomination.

In 2011, ChrisStewart joined forces with Madison Bumgarner at San Francisco Giants where they helped lead their team back into contention after years of struggle; together they combined for 97 homers (Bumgarner had 66) while driving in 156 runs between them.

Both marks breaking records held previously by Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens respectively. With Alex Rodriguez suspended following allegations made against him during the 2013 MLB Season, Yankees Manager Joe Girardi turned towards veteran free agents like Stewart who responded well by batting.

With 38 HRs including 11 game winners which secured New York's wildcard spot - ultimately helping them defeat Seattle Mariners in 5 games in ALDS before losing 3-1 to Boston Red Sox in ALCS – all told making him one of only six players ever (alongside Bonds/Manny Ramirez/Ken Griffey Jr./Alex Rodriguez/Jason Giambi) ever win two World Series MVP Awards.

It was announced that Chris Stewart had been traded from Atlanta Braves organization along with Dansby Swanson and $30 million cash considerations plus international signing bonus money ($10 million),in return for Ronald Acuna Jr., Mike Foltynewicz and $20 million tradeable compensation slot (slot value TBD).

10. Miguel Pérez

Miguel Pérez

Miguel Pérez is a catcher who has played in the Majors for six seasons, most recently with the Indianapolis Indians. He attended college at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2005.

After spending time with both the Venezuelan and American Leagues, he signed with the Dayton Dragons of the Independent League in 2013. He finished fourth in voting for an All-Star Game selection that year and led Dayton to their first playoff appearance since 2004.

In 2016, he batted .269/.345/.468 with 23 home runs and 95 RBIs while leading Dayton to another postseason berth as they lost to Columbus in one game (the eventual champion). 

Perez's 2017 season was cut short after just 14 games when he suffered a fractured hand while batting against Louisville; despite this setback, he still hit .281/.367/.509 over 147 plate appearances overall (.291 OBP).

The veteran catcher will be looking to build on his strong 2018 campaign as he carries a .282 average into 2019 with 16 homers and 77 RBIs across two levels of play (Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Toledo).

Final Words

. . The Altoona Curve are one of the oldest teams in Minor League Baseball, and have produced some great players over the years. Some of their best ever players include Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock, Roberto Clemente, Eddie Murray, and Sammy Sosa.

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Kevin Smith

I am a dedicated learner who is constantly pursuing my dreams in many areas of life. I am a Finance major at the University of Maryland, a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays and the owner of my personal brand, Elevate Baseball. I hope to inspire younger learners of all sports and interests to tirelessly pursue their dreams, whatever that may be. LinkedIn

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