By Jim Lane
CURVE, Pa. – Curve pitcher Dario Agrazal was signed by the Pirates as a non-drafted free agent out of Panama in 2012. He won several honors during his first couple seasons of professional baseball, good enough to eventually land him on the organization’s 40-man roster, but injuries have hampered his progress the last two years.
Agrazal was named to the Dominican Summer League mid-season all-star team in his first pro season (2013) and finished with a 6-0 record and 2.40 ERA in 13 games (12 starts).
The big righthander (6-3, 225) spent all of 2014 with the Gulf Coast League Pirates, posting a 3-4 mark and 4.20 ERA in 12 starts. He shared the league lead in starts and ranked fourth in innings pitched (55.2).
Agrazal was boosted to the short-season West Virginia Black Bears in 2015 and earned New York-Pennsylvania League all-star honors while compiling a 6-5 record in 14 starts. He ranked third in the league with a 2.72 ERA in 76 innings pitched. Agrazal worked one perfect inning in the NYPL all-star game and earned a save.
He continued his climb in 2016 as a member of the Class-A West Virginia Power where he led the South Atlantic League in innings pitched (150). He finished the season with a 8-12 record and 4.20 ERA after posting a 2.80 ERA in his first nine starts in the South Atlantic League.
Agrazal spent the majority of 2017 with Bradenton (A-Advanced) and was selected to the Florida State League’s mid-season all-star team. He was the Marauders’ opening-day starting pitcher and won four of his first five decisions.
He was promoted to Altoona on June 20 and made his only appearance with the Curve on June 21, pitching only four innings before being removed. He was placed on the 7-day disabled list June 24 with a right pectoral strain and missed the rest of the season.
“Last year, when I came here, I started feeling tightness in my shoulder,” Agrazal said recently at Peoples Natural Gas Field. “When I pitched in a game, it hurt after the third inning and I couldn’t throw after that.
“I went to Florida and rehabbed and my season was over.”
Agrazal, 23, entered the 2018 season ranked by Baseball America and MLB as the Pirates’ No. 30 prospect.
Through the month of April, he boasted a 1.46 ERA, ranking him in the top 10 in the Eastern League. However, he was sidelined with a shoulder injury from May 29 to July 23.
“This year, it was the same thing,” Agrazal noted. “I started well here and then the injury. I went to Florida and started working my shoulder in rehab again and came here last month to pitch.
“In Florida, I pitched three games,” he said. “One game it was raining and I threw three innings. I threw four innings the second game and then five innings (the third).”
Agrazal returned to the Curve Aug. 5 and pitched solid six innings in a 2-1 loss at Trenton.
“I felt very, very good,” Agrazal said. “I’m feeling strong and hope to finish my season here.”
In his second start, following his return to the Curve, Agrazal and two relievers combined on a 5-0 shutout of Eastern Division leader New Hampshire. In boosting his record to 4-3, Agrazal scattered seven hits over six shutout innings. He struck out two and walked one.
Agrazal said he played soccer as a youngster in Panama, but baseball always was his love.
Music is one of his favorites, too.
“I like to listen to music — loud music– and go to the beach,” he said. “In Florida, I went to the beach a lot.
“Not here,” he added, smiling.