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Miguel Castro Rises Through Jays Organization

Castro sees action in Vancouver, Lansing, and Dunedin

Miguel Castro Rises Through Jays Organization

September 10, 2014

Miguel Castro

Miguel Castro rose through three levels of the Blue Jays organization in 2014. (MiLB)

Every season presents a new opportunity for minor leaguers to showcase their skills as they work their way up the ladder. Nobody knows that better than right-handed pitcher Miguel Castro, who went from being in extended spring training to high-A this past season.

Castro began his 2014 season as a member of the Vancouver Canadians in the Northwest League, where he dazzled in the 50 1/3 innings he pitched with the Blue Jays short-season A affiliate. The Dominican Republic native went 6-2 with a 2.15 ERA and 53 strikeouts, maintaining a 1.11 WHIP and keeping opposing hitters to a .202 average against him.

The great numbers quickly earned Castro a promotion to the Midwest League in early August. While the talent level may have jumped, playing for the Blue Jays full-season A affiliate, Castro’s numbers against opposing hitters only got better in his four starts. In Lansing, the young prospect maintained a 0.78 WHIP and an opposing hitter’s batting average of .133, an excellent addition to his 20 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings of work.

Even though his time in Lansing was brief, Castro left a fantastic impression on his pitching coach Vince Horsman, who has nothing but praise for the 19-year old prospect.

“Miguel Castro is a special kid. He’s a player to watch for years to come,” stated Horsman. “He is an overpowering kid that can hit 94 to 96 mph consistently and has a sweepy slider and a very good changeup. Everything is in place for him, he just needs experience. Going from Vancouver to Lansing, he handled that transition well and then he moved up to Dunedin, it’s great seeing him continue to have success at higher levels. Miguel is a good kid and I wish him nothing but success at every level.”

I’m very thankful for everything I’ve experienced in 2014.

As Horsman alluded, Castro earned another promotion in late August to the Blue Jays High-A affiliate, the Dunedin Blue Jays. Castro, who was roughly 4.2 years younger than most of his competition wasn’t fazed by the older, more experienced players. He was 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA and five strikeouts in his 8 2/3 innings of work in the Florida State League. The young Dominican continued to be tough on hitters in the FSL, sporting an excellent 0.81 WHIP and hitters managed only a paltry .143 average against him.

Castro appreciated every opportunity he was presented and was pleased about his overall performance in 2014. “I really enjoyed every level I reached this year,” said Castro. “Vancouver was great. I thanked God for the opportunity, as I learned a lot in the Northwest League. Then I came to Lansing and it was great as well. The stadiums and atmospheres in the Midwest League are fantastic, and then I got an opportunity in Dunedin. This season has been unbelievable and I’m very thankful for everything I’ve experienced in 2014.”

It’s safe to say the young right hander has come a long way from the 17-year old kid that signed as an international free agent deal with the Blue Jays in 2012. Even though his signing is a memory now, it was a very special moment for him that he speaks highly of.

“When I found out Toronto wanted to sign me I was very happy and excited for the opportunity,” Castro recalled. “It felt great that an excellent organization like the Blue Jays believed in my ability the way they did. It was very exciting and a dream come true.”

With his 2014 season in the books, Castro is preparing for a busy off-season that will keep him in great shape for another excellent season in 2015.

“In the off-season I take one whole week off and then I get back to work on my routine,” explained Castro. “My off-season routine includes a lot of running. I also do a lot of weight lifting to get bigger and stronger. I’m very active in the off-season.”

Looking back on 2014, we can see that Castro had a lot of success that deserves to be celebrated; however, there are also some areas he will need to address in order for the Webster Award winner to find success at higher levels. Primarily, his impressive numbers appear to have been aided by a high number of stranded baserunners (81.2% LOB) and a moderately low .272 BABIP in Vancouver, implying he may have enjoyed a bit of luck.

His 50 innings in Vancouver may provide the most insight into what we can look forward to in 2015, despite the obvious small sample size caveat. In Vancouver, his 2.15 ERA appears to have been in spite of his 3.48 FIP. This, combined with his 2014 BABIP, implies Castro can likely expect some regression next season if he starts in Dunedin where he will be three years younger than the average age for pitchers in the Florida State League.

It should be emphasized that there are also positive aspects to Castro’s performance to take into account. Castro maintained an encouraging 26.8 K% throughout the season while also limiting the walks to just 9.5% of the 315 batters he faced. If he can maintain similar numbers he should continue to be a notable prospect as he advances through the minor leagues.

Watch for Miguel Castro in 2015, his power arm and sweeping slider will hopefully continue to befuddle batters and give his team every opportunity to win games.

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian has covered professional baseball for eight seasons for numerous media outlets.
Brian Crawford