MIAMI – The most striking thing about Dario Agrazal during spring training was that he always had a serious look on his face.
However, the right-hander was smiling Friday as he joined the Pirates from Class AAA Indianapolis. He will officially have his contract purchased Saturday night and make his major-league debut with a start against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park.
It marks quite a turnaround for Agrazal, who was dropped from the 40-man roster in January. However, he has pitched well in the minor leagues this season.
In fact, Clint Hurdle said Agrazal was “by far, the only choice” to get the call from Indianapolis.
“He has put himself in the position to be the next man up,” Hurdle said before Friday night’s opener of the three-game series. “He’s pitched well. He’s had some very good starts. We’ll see how it translates here. There was a lot of separation between him and anyone else (at Indianapolis) based on the work he has done, the results he has had, so I’m looking forward to watching him pitch.”
Agrazal, 24, was 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in eight starts with Indianapolis, striking out 39 and walking 10 in 49 1/3 innings. He began the season at Class AA Altoona, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in four starts.
Agrazal’s best pitch is a sinker. He also throws a four-seam fastball, slider and changeup.
A native of Panama, Agrazal began his professional career in 2013 after being signed to a $55,000 bonus as an amateur free agent by Rene Gayo, Orlando Covo and Jose Pineda.
“The journey has been long and challenging,” Agrazal said through translator Mike Gonzalez. “But it’s something you’ve to go through to get here. I’m grateful to the organization for trusting me to be here and giving me this opportunity.”
Considering how many pitchers called up from Indianapolis this season have be found wanting, expectations shouldn't be raised too high. Yet it can't hurt for the Pirates to take a look at Agrazal and see what they have.