For those of you whose head spun on a swivel when you saw prospect Miguel Castro was given a Spring Training invitation to the Major League camp for the Toronto Blue Jays, it appears you can relax a bit. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has set the record straight; Castro will be beginning his season back at Single-A Dunedin per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
Given the team’s absence of a solidified bullpen, there was some speculation that Castro could be in line to claim one of the open set-up roles in the bullpen. However, the Blue Jays appear to have come to their senses with the 20-year-old, perhaps noting that he’s thrown just a grand total of 8.1 innings at High-A or above.
Of course, Castro did pitch across 3 levels in 2014, starting the year with the short-season Vancouver Canadians before making a move to the Midwest League (Lansing Lugnuts) and finally to Dunedin. Likewise, the results were very encouraging, especially for a then 19-year-old kid throwing against competition that was much older than he was at each stop.
By making it known right at the beginning of camp, the Blue Jays have essentially lifted the weight off of the shoulders of a young pitcher and allowed him to go through Spring Training without the worry of having to compete for a job. Instead, Miguel Castro can get his first taste of advanced hitters and feel free to simply work without worrying about results.
It should still be noted that despite deciding to have Castro start the season at Dunedin, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the flame throwing right-hander won’t make his way to Toronto at some point in 2015. After all, we saw similar takes with Daniel Norris and Kendall Graveman in 2014, with the former working his way up from Dunedin to the Majors and the latter starting off a level lower in Lansing. If Castro can show the same level of growth as those two predecessors, he could be a piece of the Blue Jays bullpen in the latter stages of this season.
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For now, he’ll return to the Florida State League, where Castro can continue to work on his arsenal. Blessed with a mid-90’s fastball that can be dialed up to 99 at times, Castro compliments that with a change-up that is solid. However, he still needs to polish his slider, which is his third offering. As our Justin Jay noted when we highlighted Castro as the team’s #8 prospect, the right-hander’s fastball-change combo is great for getting batters out now, especially in the limited innings that the Blue Jays have used him. However, he’ll need that third pitch if he wants to remain a starter throughout his career.
That said, a 20-year-old arm has a lot to gain by starting the year against hitters his own age. It’ll give him time to work on that third pitch and it will give the team time to determine whether his role truly is in the rotation or better suited for the bullpen long term. Still Miguel Castro has a lot to offer and the Blue Jays could easily make him the next quick mover in the system.