The Colorado Rockies acquired Miguel Castro in a trade that sent star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays. Could Miguel Castro find himself as the closer for the Rockies in 2016?
Last season, near the trade deadline, the Colorado Rockies and Toronto Blue Jays completed a blockbuster trade. The Rockies sent Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins to Toronto for Jose Reyes, Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman, and Jesus Tinoco. The trade shook up the Rockies’ fan base, seeing one of the most beloved players to every wear the jersey traded mid-season. Although Jose Reyes plays above-average baseball, the main yield of the trade revolved around the trio of prospects in the deal. Miguel Castro is the only prospect with Major League experience, opening the 2015 season as the Blue Jays’ closer.
The Toronto Blue Jays signed Miguel Castro, at the age of 16, as an international free agent. After signing Castro in the summer of 2011, the team assigned him to the Dominican Summer League for his first professional season. He made eight appearances and registered a 4.37 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and a 3.88 FIP. Following his 2012 season, Castro spent the 2013 season between three leagues, the Dominican Summer League, Gulf Coast League, and Appalachian League. In 15 appearances, across three leagues, Castro put together one of the best seasons of his professional career.
Miguel Castro finished the 2013 season with 15 appearances, 1.54 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and a FIP in the mid-one range. Castro’s strong 2013 season vaulted him as one of the Blue Jays’ best prospects. Despite playing in three leagues in 2013, Castro never reached higher than the Rookie League ranks; however, in 2014, he climbed from Low-A to High-A as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays’ farm system. Although his 2014 does not compare to his dominant 2013 season, he continued to grow and develop as a prospect.
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Castro opened the 2014 season in Low-A Vancouver, and he pitched primarily as a starter. He made 10 starts for Vancouver, posting a 2.15 ERA and 1.11 WHIP; thus, the Blue Jays decided to promote the young flamethrower to Single-A Lansing. Miguel Castro struggled somewhat with the promotion, but he still posted respectable numbers at his second stop in 2014. He made four starts for Lansing, registering a 3.74 ERA and 3.95 FIP. After making four starts with Lansing, the Jays promoted Castro for the second time in 2014. Castro only made two starts at High-A Dunedin, posting a 3.12 ERA.
Between three leagues in 2014, Miguel Castro finished the 2014 season with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. After another strong season in 2014, the Toronto Blue Jays named Castro as their starting closer out of Spring Training in 2015. At the age of 20, Castro was one of the youngest players on any roster in the MLB. However, he struggled with the high-leverage role out of the gate, and that forced the Blue Jays to send him back to the minors. The Jays demoted Castro to High-A Dunedin, but he only made three appearances before being promoted to Triple-A Buffalo.
With the Toronto Blue Jays making a strong playoff push, the team looked to add an impact bat to their already lethal lineup. The Colorado Rockies were once-again in a rebuilding mode; thus, the Rockies shopped Troy Tulowitzki around. The Blue Jays ultimately won the Troy Tulowitzki sweepstakes, sending Jose Reyes and three prospects over to the Rockies. Once acquired, the Rockies assigned Miguel Castro to Triple-A Albuquerque, and the Isotopes used him primarily out of the bullpen.
House That Hank Built
Miguel Castro projects to be either a top of the rotation starter or a dominant closer. The Colorado Rockies need both, so they must decide on how they want to utilize Castro. Castro possesses a dominant fastball that can reach 100 MPH, but it hovers in the mid-90s with regularity. In addition to Castro’s plus fastball, he has the ability to throw a nice change-up to keep hitters off balance. While the Rockies need quality starters in their rotation, they may be smart bringing Castro up in a relief role to sure-up their bullpen woes.
With the Triple-A Isotopes using Castro primarily as a reliever, this hints that the Rockies want to groom him as a MLB reliever in the future. Miguel Castro likely breaks Spring Training next season with the Rockies, and he should provide a nice boost to their bullpen. Keep an eye on Castro’s status heading in to Spring Training in 2016, as he is one of the Rockies’ prospects closest to making a real impact for the Big-League team. At 20 years old, he is one of the bright, young rookies in the Rockies’ farm system.