A look at Pirate prospect, and new 40-man roster member, Dario Agrazal

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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On Monday evening the Pittsburgh Pirates added right-handed pitcher Dario Agrazal to the 40-man roster, here is a deeper look at the Pirate pitching prospect

The Pittsburgh Pirates had until 8 p.m. EST on Monday night to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Unsurprisingly, Austin Meadows and Luis Escobar were added to the 40-man roster. However, in a surprising mone, Dario Agrazal joined them.

Dario Agrazal is a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher. Agrazal spent most of the 2017 campaign at High-A Bradenton. He also made one start for Double-A Altoona. In this lone start for the Curve he allowed two runs on three hits, two walks, and two strikeouts in four innings of work. His season was then ended prematurely due to a pectoral injury.

So, who is Dario Agrazal?

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Dario Agrazal as an international free agent out of Panama prior to the 2013 season. He was signed as a pitcher that sat in the low 90s with his fastball. Since joining the Pirates, he has started to lean more on his sinker and has added a slider.

In 14 games (13 starts) at the High-A level last season Agrazal averaged 7.06 K/9, 1.12 BB/9, generated groundballs at a rate of 55.0 percent, and he allowed just 73 hits and four home runs in 80 1/3 innings pitched. This led to him owning a 2.91 ERA, 2.88 FIP, and a 2.92 xFIP for the Maurauders.

The season with the largest workload for Agrazal came for the Low-A West Virginia Black Bears in 2016. That season he made 27 starts for the Black Bears and allowed 173 hits and 18 home runs in 150 innings pitched. He averaged just 1.08 BB/9 and owned a 60.1 percent groundball rate. However, he had a low strikeout rate of 5.28 K/9. In 2016 he posted a 4.20 ERA, 4.43 FIP, and a 4.01 xFIP for the Black Bears.

When asked about adding Agrazal to the 40-man roster, Pirate GM Neal Huntington had this to say (via MLB.com’s Adam Berry):

"“He was on track to be a no-doubt protect guy until he got injured,” Huntington said. “He came back in the instructional league and showed us that he was back. He gave us confidence that if we didn’t protect him, we would lose him, and if we did protect him, he would be able to take the next steps in his career.”"

This makes it clear that injuries have played a role in the development of Agrazal. However, Huntington and company were encouraged by the way he bounced back from injury in late 2017 in the instructional league. If not for this pectoral injury, it is possible that Agrazal would already be knocking on the door of Triple-A.

Next: Should the Bucs claim Mark Appel?

All signs point toward Dario Agrazal starting the 2018 season in the starting rotation for the Double-A Altoona Curve. At just 22-years-old, he is right on track with where he should be in the minor leagues. If he is able to reach Triple-A by 2019, then he could be on the Major League radar by late 2019 or early 2020.