DARIO AGRAZAL, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: December 28, 1994
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2012, Pittsburgh Pirates
How Acquired: International Free Agent
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Agrazal is the son of a prominent baseball coach in Panama. He was a low-key signing, but has a little more size than some Latin American pitchers. He threw his fastball in the 87-93 range when he was signed. By 2017, he was reaching the mid-90s, helping to gain him a spot on the 40-man roster. Since struggling with shoulder issues in 2018, though, his velocity has dropped to the mid-90s. His best pitch is possibly his change and he also throws a slider, but he lacks a dominant secondary pitch.
As one of the top starters with the Pirates’ DSL affiliates, Agrazal threw strikes and allowed only a .328 slugging percentage, but didn’t miss many bats. He was a mild flyball pitcher and didn’t have a platoon split of any size.
Agrazal spent the season in the GCL rotation and had a similar season to the previous one. He walked almost nobody, but continued to be very hittable, allowing a .285 opponents’ average, .317 against right-handed hitters. He was more of a groundball pitcher this time.
Agrazal spent the season in the rotation at Morgantown. He continued along the same lines, walking very few hitters, keeping the ball in the park (3 HRs in 76 IP), and not missing many bats. He gave up fewer hits, though, with his opponents’ average dropping from .285 the previous year to .245. Much of the improvement was simply a reduction in his BABIP from .318 to .279. A realistic level is probably somewhere in between. He also was a very strong groundball pitcher. Agrazal had no platoon split at all. He was consistent all season, with his highest monthly ERA just 3.21.
Agrazal spent the season in the West Virginia rotation. He threw strikes, but was very hittable, allowing a 295/327/474 line with 18 HRs. That slugging average was over 100 points above the league norm. He had a reverse platoon split, with left-handed batters hitting 281/315/426 against him and right-handed batters 305/336/510. Agrazal’s groundball/flyball ratio was much lower than the previous year, probably contributing to the trouble with gopher balls. His K rate remained very low.
Agrazal spent the first half of the season in the Bradenton rotation and made progress, particularly with his K rate. He occasionally got hit hard, but generally gave up far fewer hits than the previous year; his opponents’ average dropped from .295 to .242. He also did much better at keeping the ball on the ground. That resulted in a dramatic turn around in his problems with gopher balls, as he went from better than one every eight innings to one every 21 innings. Of course, the move to the Florida State League undoubtedly helped, too. Agrazal was extremely tough on right-handed hitters, holding them to a .528 OPS. Left-handed hitters had a .697 OPS against him. He frequently went deep into games as he was generally very efficient with his pitches; he lasted fewer than six innings only twice in his 13 starts with Bradenton. The Pirates promoted him to Altoona in late June, but he suffered a strained oblique in his first start there and missed the rest of the year.
The Pirates added Agrazal to the 40-man roster in the off-season, then sent him back to Altoona. Unfortunately, he suffered a shoulder strain in late May and missed two months. For the most part, he got results that were very similar to the previous year, except his K rate dropped back down to a very low level. His stats suffered badly from two starts at the end of the season. Although he pitched well in his first several starts with the Curve after the injury, he gave up 15 earned runs and 23 hits in ten innings during his last two starts. He also got roughed up in his one post-season start. On the season, opponents batted .262 against him and slugged .406, both of which were above league average. That’s not something you’d want to see from a future major league starter, although his opponents’ OBP of .298 was below the league average. Agrazal had a large platoon split, allowing a .759 OPS to left-handed hitters and .633 to right-handed.
Agrazal opened the season back at Altoona, but moved up after four starts. In his first eight AAA starts, he had two bad ones but six very good ones. In need of a starter, the Pirates called him up in mid-June. After shuttling back and forth between AAA and the majors several times, he spent the rest of the season in the Pirates’ rotation except for a two-start stint at Indianapolis in mid-August. Agrazal pitched very well in his first five major league starts, posting an ERA of 2.25. After that, he got hit hard, with an ERA of 6.55. Overall, he didn’t walk many, but he missed very few bats and struggled with the longball, allowing better than one every five innings. Opponents posted a strong 283/345/497 batting line against him, with right-handed hitters pounding him for a .587 slugging average. He was only moderately effective in AAA, with a 4.23 xFIP, although you have to take into account the league ERA of 5.16.
The issue with Agrazal, as with James Marvel, is whether his stuff will play in the majors. He’ll have to miss more bats to be able to stick as a back-of-the-rotation starter. He probably profiles best as AAA depth and the Pirates in fact designated him for assignment to clear roster space after the 2019 season.
|2020: Minor League Salary|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2017 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2018)
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|July 1, 2012: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.
November 20, 2017: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
January 11, 2019: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; outrighted to AA on January 18.
June 15, 2019: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
November 20, 2019: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.