Baltimore Orioles’ Miguel Castro is in competition at Orioles spring training for a spot in the starting rotation, which becomes a bit more challenging after the Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman deals.
A little more than a month later, Castro made his way to the Orioles major league roster and made his Orioles debut on May 17. Castro pitched one shutout inning with one strikeout, completing the successful debut with the Orioles.
Castro proved his value on the Orioles roster by producing a 2.09 ERA and 21 strikeouts in July and Aug. combined.
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Ultimately, Castro finished the 2017 season with a 3.53 ERA in 66.1 innings pitched, along with a 3-3 record.
The right-handed pitcher experienced one of the top performances of his career last season on Aug. 23 in the Orioles extra-innings win over the Oakland Athletics, when Castro pitched 3.2 innings with three strikeouts and above all, the win.
Newly-signed starting pitcher Andrew Cashner will take one of the rotation spots, along with the return of Chris Tillman, who signed a one-year deal. Tillman likely will battle throughout Orioles spring training for a spot in the starting rotation.
Miguel Castro’s Two-Seam Fastball
2017 average velocity via Fangraphs.com: 95.4mph
Castro’s two-seam fastball has about 2.5 inches more horizontal movement on it than your typical two-seamer.
Pitch summary via PitcherList.com:
"This is one beautiful fastball. Castro’s two-seamer comes in around 95 MPH on average with the ability to come close to 100 and it has a lot of horizontal movement on it, about two and a half inches more than your typical two-seamer. He had a bit of trouble controlling it, throwing it in the zone just 46.6% of the time in 2017, which explains the .170 ISO opposing hitters had against it, but if he can rein it in, it’s a pretty amazing pitch."
Castro’s Slider Pitch
2017 opponent batting average vs. SL via Fangraphs.com: .158 AVG
Castro threw his slider pitch 26.7 percent of the time in 2017, along with a 41.38 whiff percentage. Coupled with his fastball pitch, Castro’s slider leave hitters unbalanced as the change of speed produced a .167 opponent batting average a season ago.
In 2017, the 23-year-old’s slider produced the highest strike rate of his three pitches but also was called a ball 43.3 percent of the time.
Castro’s Changeup Pitch
2017 whiff/swing percentage via BrooksBaseball.com: 41.82 percent
Castro’s changeup produces a 19.6 percent whiff rate and was thrown a total of 112 times in 2017. Before 2017, Castro threw his changeup pitch just a combined 60 times.
Per Fangraphs.com, his changeup was thrown for a strike 73 times compared to just 39 balls. Castro puts tons of horizontal movement on his changeup pitch.
His change was arguably his most effective off-speed pitch last season and was his only pitch not to allow a home run.
Castro did, in fact, make one start in the last week of the 2017 season in the Orioles’ 3-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sep. 30 where he only lasted 3.1 innings with three earned runs and three strikeouts.
However, Castro has risen from the Orioles bullpen and is a legitimate candidate to be in the Orioles starting pitching rotation in 2018.