RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: September 23, 1985
Drafted: 12th Round, 372nd Overall, 2008 (Mariners)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
College: University of Texas
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Kasparek threw 92-93 as a high school junior, but never showed that velocity afterwards. He was a late-round draftee as a high school senior and again in his third year at Texas, after having had Tommy John surgery. He finally signed after being drafted the following year as a fourth-year junior. Kasparek now throws the standard four pitches, with velocity in the upper 80s. As the photo shows, he throws from a straight sidearm angle, which probably helps account for the fact that he’s had large platoon splits in the minors. He doesn’t have an out pitch and profiles more as minor league depth than as a prospect. The Pirates signed him out of the independent American Association. It’s ironic that they signed the 6’10” Kasparek at the same time as the 5’6″ Nathan Kilcrease.
Kasparek dominated in his debut in the advanced rookie Appalachian League, but wasn’t as successful after moving up to short season A-ball.
Kasparek had a strong year in low A, but stayed there all year.
Kasparek in some ways had a similar year to 2009, as he allowed only slightly more baserunners, but he struck out far fewer and his HRs allowed jumped from five to 21. Moving not only to the California League, but to the HR haven at High Desert, probably accounted for much of the difference.
Kasparek opened in AA, but went out in early May with a sore right elbow. After rehabbing his way back, he finished with just a so-so season. At that point he was old for AA at 25.
The Mariners released Kasparek in spring training and he eventually pitched two games for independent Fargo-Moorhead. The Pirates signed him at the end of May. He pitched out of the bullpen until early August, when he joined the rotation after the Pirates had promoted Tyler Waldron. He made six starts and had a 5.58 ERA as a starter, 4.55 as a reliever. He was fairly effective against right-handed batters, who hit .234 against him, but left-handed hitters battered him to the tune of a .404 average, with a high walk rate as well.
Kasparek spent the season in the Altoona bullpen and pitched much better than he had the year before at Bradenton. He actually was much more effective than the ERA indicates, because he made one spot start and allowed six runs in one inning. His ERA as a reliever was 2.41. He wasn’t exceptionally hard to hit; his opponents’ average was .263 (but .243 as a reliever) and his K rate, although improved, was still low. But he didn’t walk many and allowed only three HRs (two in 61.2 IP as a reliever). Kasparek finished the season strongly, posting an 0.39 ERA in a dozen post-All-Star outings. Not surprisingly for a sidearm pitcher, he continued to have a large platoon split, with left-handed hitters posting an .811 OPS against him and right-handed hitters just .614.
The Pirates didn’t assign Kasparek to Altoona until late April. He got into two games there, then went up to Indianapolis for a brief stint before returning to Altoona for the rest of the year. He pitched exceptionally well for the Curve and eventually took over their closer role. Kasparek held opponents to a 236/267/319 line, even including his numbers in AAA.
Kasparek is eligible for minor league free agency now. The Pirates could prevent that by adding him to the 40-man roster, but there’s no indication that they consider him a prospect.
|2014: Minor league contract|
|Signing Bonus: $100,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: Eligible
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: N/A
|June 8, 2004: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 41st round, 1236th overall pick.
June 8, 2007: Drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 34th round, 1027th overall pick.
June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 12th round, 372nd overall pick; signed on June 12.
March 18, 2012: Released by the Seattle Mariners.
May 29, 2012: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.