Last season, Dario Agrazal earned a single start at Double-A. He'll rightfully have plenty more in 2018.
The Pirates' 30th-ranked prospect cruised through six hitless innings Friday, fanning two in his second Eastern League start. He issued three walks and hit a batter, throwing 41 of 68 pitches for strikes.
Agrazal left with a six-run lead, but Akron stormed back for a 7-6 win as Indians No. 3 prospect Bobby Bradley slugged a go-ahead two-run homer in the ninth.
Gameday box score
The 2012 Pirates international signee worked his way into trouble in the sixth by plunking Ka'ai Tom and walking Sam Haggerty to open the inning, but he caught a break as Tom was doubled off at second on Tyler Krieger's liner and Bradley was retired on a comebacker.
"He's a competitor. No matter what happens, he's out there to compete with every pitch," Curve pitching coach Bryan Hickerson said. "He's a thinker, he's smart ... he can put the ball on both sides of the plate, chances are he'll induce a double play."
Video: Curve's Agrazal retains no-hitter through six innings
Agrazal spent most of last season with Class A Advanced Bradenton, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA. He made one start for the Curve and allowed two runs on three hits over three innings with a strikeout and two walks. He was promptly placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right pectoral strain, ending his season.
The Pirates are bullish on his demeanor and extensive pitch mix, adding Agrazal to the 40-man roster in November to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft. They also invited him to big league Spring Training.
"He's got good stuff," Hickerson said. "He's got a good fastball, four-seam and two-seam, a power sinker that he didn't throw tonight, but he can hit the mid-90s with that. Then you have a slider and a changeup on top of that. When you're able to locate all of his pitches without trying to make them better than they need to be, it seems to fit him well, and that's what I saw tonight."
Agrazal made his professional debut in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League in 2013, going 6-0 with a 2.40 ERA. His stateside debut was less sterling, with the right-hander posting a 3-4 record and 4.20 ERA in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2014. He bounced back in the New York-Penn League, where he compiled a 2.72 ERA in 14 starts, before going 8-12 with a 4.20 ERA in 27 starts with Class A West Virginia in his full-season debut.
Altoona stormed out to a 6-0 lead, scoring four times in the fourth. Logan Hill and Bucs No. 4 prospect Ke'Bryan Hayes each drove in a pair of runs for the Curve.
Even though Akron rallied, Agrazal's start was a positive.
"It was fun to see him stay within himself and compete with what he had and make pitches when he had to," Hickerson said. "We'll bring up him up this year and hope that he can do it all season."