He has a great arm that consistently throws 95 mph fastballs and soon may be making a name for himself with the Pirates. And that name is ...
Formerly known as Samuel Vasquez.
The Curve added the flame-throwing right-handed reliever three weeks ago, and there was something very unusual about him right from the get-go.
For starters, he went 1-10 with a 6.75 ERA for the State College Spikes just last season, yet in his first appearance at Blair County Ballpark he looked like a future major league standout.
No ordinary pitcher who was that bad in the New York-Penn League turns out to be this good in Double-A less than a year later.
Aguero, it turns out, is not an ordinary pitcher, either from a background or talent standpoint.
"He's a name-change guy, an age guy," Pirates farm director Kyle Stark said. "When [the organization's new regime] first got here, we thought he was somebody else and thought he was 19, and all of a sudden he's 23."
Aguero, who hails from the Dominican Republic, did something that hundreds - maybe even thousands - of Latin American players have been doing for years. He assumed a different name and lied about his age, claiming to be four years younger than he really is.
The age misrepresentation gives the Latin players a better chance to sign professional contracts since organizations prefer to develop younger players.
The practice of changing names and ages - perhaps taking the identity of a cousin or brother - has been common for a long time. It was cut way back, however, after U.S. customs started policing the matter and requiring better documentation following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
It's unclear exactly why Aguero assumed a different identity. He politely declined to discuss his background when asked Tuesday night, saying he would prefer to forget about the past and focus on the future.
That future, based on what he's done so far with the Curve, could be very bright.
"He's a major league prospect," Altoona manager Matt Walbeck said. "Anybody that throws like that - 96 - and then has the changeup that's 80 or whatever it is, it's stuff that's a little bit crude right now, but I think he can even polish it up and get better."
Aguero has made six appearances for the Curve and allowed just one run on five hits in 9 2/3 innings. He's struck out nine, walked five and converted all four of his save opportunities.
It's a small sample, sure, but his stuff is what baseball scouts like to call "electric." He has the kind of power arm the Pirates would love to see in the back end of their bullpen someday.
"Fortunately for the Pirates, they've got quite an arm on their hands," Walbeck said.
So how did this guy go 1-10 with a 6.75 ERA in short-season ball?
"Bad, bad," Aguero, speaking through translator Miguel Perez, said of his performance with the Spikes.
"Baseball's a funny game," Walbeck said. "You just never know. It's just one of those things where a talent like that grows into himself and he starts to get a feel for it and have some confidence."
In Aguero's case, the age component has played a big role in his incredible one-year turnaround.
He pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2006 and '07. When Stark and the new Pirates regime came on board and learned Aguero was really 23 instead of 19, they had to force the issue with his development.
Rather than sending him to the rookie Gulf Coast League in 2008, which would have been his natural next step, the Pirates challenged Aguero at a higher level.
"He showed stuff," Stark said of the pitcher's performance in State College. "He showed a young arm with some arm strength that had a chance. He's continued to make strides off of that.
"I think he's grown up a ton personally, maturity-wise, and he's throwing the ball well, so that confidence helps."
Aguero said he worked hard during the offseason in the Dominican Republic to better prepare himself for this season.
"I know that it's different now, and I'm trying to prove that I can pitch," he said.
Last year, he noted, "was the first year for me in the States, it was a short season. But now it's different, and some good things have gone on this season."
Aguero started out at low-A West Virginia and went 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA in 20 games (three starts). He then excelled at high-A Lynchburg, going 1-0 with a 2.49 ERA in 11 games. Between his three levels, he has 71 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.
"Next year is going to be even better," Aguero said. "I'm going to be ready to do good things."
If he performs much better, Pirates fans will know his name by this time next year.
His real name.
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and email@example.com.