2015 Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospect: #8 Miguel Castro


It is that time of year, where the team here at Jays Journal once again discusses the Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects. We ha™ve compiled our Top 20. Basically, we wanted to create the most all-inclusive Blue Jays prospect ranking out there.

So, we took a mixed approach to our rankings. Not only did we take a ranking from each member of our writing staff, but we also figured in the rankings from other publications as well, including MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Minor League Ball.

More from Jays Journal

We have already begun our Top 20 prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays system. #20A.J. Jimenez, #19Matthew Dean#18John Stilson, #17- Alberto Tirado, #16- Dwight Smith Jr., #15- Anthony Alford#14- Dawel Lugo, #13Richard Urena, #12Matt Smoral#11 Jairo Labourt#10 Mitch Nayand #9 Sean Reid-Foley.

Today we focus our attention on Miguel Castro, who opened up some eyes with a stellar 2014 campaign.

Name: Miguel Castro
Position: Starting Pitcher
Date of Birth: 12/24/1994 (21)
Acquired: International free agent out of the Dominican Republic on January 5, 2012; $180,000 signing bonus
High School: Unknown
College: None
Height/Weight:  6’5″/190 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R

Awards and Accomplishments:
2014 Jays Journal Top Prospect #23
• 2013 Webster Award for MVP of the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays

Stats and Analysis:

Jays Journal continues the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects countdown with #8 Miguel Castro.  Last season, he ranked #23 on our list as we saw Castro dominate the Dominican Summer League. That domination earned the young man a promotion to both the GCL Blue Jays and Bluefield in 2013.  At that time, Castro had added velocity that had the tall right-hander touching the mid-90s.

This past season, Castro was back at it, further adding velocity and jumping levels in the Blue Jays farm system.  Pumping his fastball up to 99 MPH and comfortably hitting 95 MPH, Castro continued to show the Blue Jays his front-of-the-rotation potential.  This past year also saw solid development in his changeup, which is becoming a plus offering.

While in the process of working on his secondary pitches, Castro made easy work of teams in the Northwest League while a member of the Vancouver Canadians.   His 9.5 K/9 was second on the team only to Jairo Labourt and his WHIP at 1.11 was tied for team best with Ryan Borucki.  His time in Vancouver would have been sensational if he didn’t have a BB/9 of 3.6.

Special thanks to fellow Jays Journal writer Charlie Caskey for this video clip of Castro during his time in Vancouver.

As you can see here, Castro has a relatively easy, 3/4 sling arm throwing motion.  He lifts and holds his leg about hip level as he’s slinging his arm back to build velocity.  If you notice, there is a slight kick, but not much drive from his back leg.  This video was taken during warm ups, so it is possible the leg drive is different during the game.  If not, at least from the trunk down, the delivery is similar to that of Aaron Sanchez.

The plus to his sling arm delivery is Castro makes it look effortless and his mechanics look relatively easy to repeat.  The negative is you can see a slight tipping of location with his fastball.  To throw to the right side of the plate, Castro drops his arm down just enough to appear to have a sidearm release.  To throw to the left side of the plate, his arm slot is more genuine 3/4.

Castro will also need to pay more attention to runners on base.  That’s because the other con to his delivery comes while in the stretch.  He still has to hold his leg at hip level while he makes his delivery to the plate, enabling good base thieves to get a solid jump in their quest for successful thievery.

Outlook and ETA:

Despite some of the flaws mentioned above, no pitcher is perfect… unless you’re Clayton Kershaw.  And while Clayton Kershaw, Castro is not, with further development of his secondary pitches, you may see a potential #2 type arm in him.  He’s got the velocity.  He can locate relatively well and based on his development so far, it’s not illogical to think Castro’s command will improve as he gains control of his secondary pitches.

Here’s the thing.  Castro will need to harness the control of his secondary pitches.  He’s a legitimate power arm right now, but with only a fastball-changeup combination, he’ll be destined for the bullpen.  That’s the floor.  The ceiling however, is quite high on a team full of high ceiling arms.

This year will be an interesting one for sure with Castro.  He’ll most likely be starting in Dunedin.  He’s had a relatively modest workload with only 80 IPs over 16 games (15 starts).  That’s about 5 IPs/gm.  So if there’s an increase in workload and a development of that slider (more like cut fastball right now), it may be safe to say Castro will stay a starter.  Will it be with the Toronto Blue Jays?  Well, that’s a more difficult question to answer.  Spots will be limited as Stroman, Hutchison, Sanchez, Norris, and possibly Hoffman are all expected to have a role with the parent club by the time Castro is ready.

Next: Blue Jays Top Prospects #9 - Sean Reid-Foley