I’m going to call this the first of a sporadic series of articles about deep sleeper prospects that the Jays have in their system.
I have a feeling that people are going to be talking about 18-year-old, Dominican righty Miguel Castro very soon. The 6’5″, 190 lb youngster from La Romana has already got people around the Blue Jays minor league complex talking about him after only his first start in the U.S. He has been lighting the Dominican Summer League on fire this season and has definitely earned his way over to the Gulf Coast League with his play.
Castro was signed to an international free agent contract in 2011 for a whopping $180,000 in the summer of 2011. He then began to play for the Blue Jays Dominican complex team in 2012 and posted solid, if not spectacular numbers as a 17 year old. In 20 1/3 innings, he went 3-2 with a 4.87 ERA, a 1.328 WHIP and 20 strikeouts and 11 walks. While the WHIP and strikeout numbers were very good, the walks were a problem.
Well, in 2013, the walks have been anything but a problem. This summer, Castro racked up 53 innings in the DSL where he had a 1.35 ERA, a WHIP of 0.981 and 12 walks and 71 strikeouts. He was literally overpowering the Dominican league.
He’s since made one appearance in Dunedin and he impressed scouts and the organization. He finished up a game that 2nd round draft pick Clinton Hollon (who signed for almost $300,000 more than Castro) and continued to dominate. He threw four innings and gave up three hits and a walk (no runs) and struck out five.
Friend of Blue Jays from Away (and writer for Baseball Prospectus), Chris King (@StatsKing on Twitter — give him a follow), told me that while he wasn’t there for his debut, he plans on seeing Castro’s next appearance. Scouts told Chris that Castro was hitting between 91 and 95 mph on the radar gun and that he was “attacking every hitter.”
We’ll have to keep a close eye on Miguel Castro as he continues to throw in the GCL, but to put things in perspective, a couple of guys in Bluefield that some consider to be “sleeper” prospects, Yeyfry Del Rosario and Jairo Labourt, both pitched in the DSL in 2011 and neither had the success that Castro was having (although, to be fair, they spent their Age-18 season in the GCL after their Age-17 season in the DSL). The comparables aren’t exactly “apples-to-apples” in this case, but it’s clear that Castro could follow their path and become a very fast-rising prospect in the Appalachian League in 2014.