Pirates pitcher Dario Agrazal has chance to prove himself over season’s final 2 months
Because they opted against holding a fire sale at the trade deadline, there aren’t a whole lot of open spaces on the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup card for young players to take.
There are a couple, though, and starting pitcher Dario Agrazal occupies one.
When the Pirates sent Jordan Lyles to the Milwaukee Brewers last Monday, they essentially opened up a rotation spot for the 24-year-old Agrazal.
Lyles and Agrazal, coincidentally, were mound opponents as the Pirates took on the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night at PNC Park.
The last two months of the season will be a critical time for Agrazal.
His results in a small sample size this season have been impressive. Coming into Monday’s game, he was 2-2 with a 3.65 ERA.
He’s the exact opposite of a top pitching prospect in the modern game, however. He doesn’t have swing-and-miss stuff, recording 18 strikeouts in 37 innings. He makes his living by avoiding hard contact.
“All of a sudden, he started getting outs and now it’s, ‘Hey, this guy is interesting,’ ” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’re enamored with swing and miss and velocity. For those that aren’t, he’s probably a really interesting guy. Like, how’s he getting these outs? It’s by pitch execution. It’s by reading swings, reading bats.”
Agrazal already has written a pretty good redemption story, bouncing back from being taken off the 40-man roster in January to becoming a serviceable major league starter.
The next step is to force Pirates management to consider him in the rotation plans for next season.
Hurdle said he’d like to see Agrazal have a little more separation in velocity from his fastball to his off-speed pitches. “I love the fact that he hasn’t let himself be defined by anything,” Hurdle said. “He’s going out and attacking the zone, making pitches, using both sides of the plate. The fastball has some nice finish to it. It’s got some nice sink to it. The cutter can play on some left-handers to keep it off the barrel. His spin? It plays as well. “Who knows where it’s going to go? We’ve had the conversation (about not having swing-and-miss stuff) with Trevor Williams in the past, and then there’s been some games where he’s showed up and punched out seven, I think this year, a couple different times. He’s still growing.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review assistant sports editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .