On April 7, the Colorado Rockies traded Miguel Castro to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for cash or a player to be named later.
That Baltimore Orioles deal may be one of the most underrated trades of the 2017 season
For cash or a player to be named later, the Orioles ended up with a young right-handed pitcher who has shown a calm maturity on the mound.
Miguel Castro is all of 22 years old. He began his professional baseball career at age 17 in the Dominican Summer League for an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. He made his MLB debut in 2015 with the Blue Jays. That same year, he was traded to the Rockies with Jose Reyes in the deal that brought Troy Tulowitzki to the Jays.
Trouble in Colorado
Castro pitched in relief with mixed results for the Rockies. He threw in 19 games and finished the 2015 season with an ERA of 6.14. His best games were on the road. In nine road games, he gave up one earned run. But, at home, it was another story. At hitter friendly Coors Field, he gave up nine earned runs in ten games. Clearly, the atmosphere in Colorado was not his friend.
Showing up in Baltimore
But, since showing up in Baltimore, he has fared significantly better. He currently has a 2.73 ERA – his career best in the MLB and he has a WAR of 0.7. Buck Showalter knows how to manage a bullpen and he often uses Castro as a guy who can come in and eat innings. Castro proved his value to the team in several games where he has provided relief for starters who can’t get the job done. His latest showcase was on Thursday, filling in for Chris Tillman against the Tigers.
With Castro’s performances continually improving, could it be time for him to get a start? Castro went a solid six innings on Thursday. He faced 19 batters, striking out two, walking one, and giving up one hit. As the game progressed, he just got better. With an outing like this, a start might be a good idea – especially with the inconsistent pitching coming from many in the rotation.
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As a young starter
The young 6’5 Dominican pitcher was used as a starter through 2014. In 2013, he had an ERA of 1.54 when he started in the rookie leagues. Then, in 2015, he was moved to the bullpen, where he has been ever since.
He clearly has the stuff to start games. According to Fangraphs, his fastball averages 96 MPH. His change up averages 87 MPH and his slider comes in around 84 MPH. His tendency is pitch-to-contact, but with the defense behind him, he could help the O’s get a few more wins. But, his slider can be unhittable and is a good knockout pitch.
At the close of the 2016 season, Castro was ranked as the #8 prospect in the Rockies organization by Fangraphs. He was praised for his speedy fastball, but was criticized for his occasional lack of command. As a 22-year-old in the MLB, he certainly could be moved from the pen to the dugout and given some chances to start. After his performance against the Tigers, he showed that he has what it takes.