St. Louis Cardinals made infielder Alex Castellanos the first player to be
drafted out of
Described as "a poetic fielder and one of the more toolsy guys in the system" by Instructional League Coordinator Mike Shildt, Castellanos would not have to travel too far for his first assignment.
first stop as a professional with
22-year-old was then promoted to
Before doing this interview with Alex, I found that we have something in common. We have both had a brother pass away when he was way too young. Both were with friends after celebrating youth but instead were taken way too soon. When I shared our bond, this was his response:
"I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your bother. I understand your pain. Nobody should have to go through something like this. It has been difficult for me because he was my only brother. He was not only a great brother but also my best friend. My brother was killed in a boating accident on July 8, 2007 when he and 11 others were on a boat spending a fun day at Elliott Key. When coming back to the marina, the driver decided to play a joke and made a quick left turn knocking him off the boat. They ran him over with the propellers and claim they didn't see him in the water. His lifeless body was found the next day. He drowned at the age of 23."
Castellanos informed me that since
the accident, his mother has been active in fighting for better boating laws in
DM: Tell me about Alex Castellanos.
AC: I love dancing, working out, riding my jet ski, and just chilling out with my family and friends. I was a very active kid so to expend some of my energy, my parents signed me up to play T-ball at
DM: You are from
AC: After high school graduation in June 2004, I was asked to play summer ball with
DM: You were the first player from Belmont-Abbey to be drafted in 36 years. How does that feel?
AC: I was happy, It was a great honor to be recognized for my achievements. It also lets others see that we have great players in our school.
DM: When did you first learn that professional scouts were looking at you?
AC: During my sophomore year, my coach began receiving questionnaires from numerous teams asking for personal information; i.e. height, weight, etc. Later in my junior year my coach would tell me that scouts were present at games. Some of the teams that I learned were there were the Cardinals, Mets, Braves, A's, and Yankees.
DM: When did the Cardinals come into the mix?
AC: I received a questionnaire from the Cardinals during my junior year and then they came out to watch me play. In May 2008 they invited me to a workout.
DM: Tell me about draft day 2008.
AC: I was at home in
extremely happy and at the same time was sad because my brother, who always said
I would make it to the pros, was not here to share this moment with me. The
calls started coming in and within half an hour I had a full house of family and
friends to share in my joy.
DM: Like I mentioned above, you are from
AC: Growing up I always rooted for the Marlins. As a kid, my parents and their friends would take the kids from our Little League team to the Marlins games. We even attended some of the World Series games.
DM: You have played second base and third base since becoming a professional. Which do you prefer? Have the Cardinals informed you which position they see you at in the future?
AC: Honestly, I feel more comfortable at second base because I have played the position for many years. However, that doesn't mean I would mind playing another position. This was my first time ever-playing third base and I enjoyed playing there too. When you love playing baseball like I do, I would play any position. I am very grateful to the Cardinals organization for giving me the opportunity to play.
DM: How were you informed that you were being promoted to
AC: After playing a home game at around 10 PM, I was in the locker room when the Coach called me into his office and told me congratulations and that I needed to be packed and ready to board a flight at 6 AM the next morning to
DM: How does the New York-Penn League compare to the Appy League?
AC: The NY-Penn league has a different and more intense level of competition.
DM: What did you know about the Cardinals before they drafted you?
AC: I knew that they were a terrific organization that cared greatly for their players and their fans. I had the opportunity to experience this the day I went to the workout in May. It's like an extension of my family.
DM: What are your off season plans?
AC: Workout and train, workout and train, workout and train to stay fit.
DM: Could you please tell me about Ozzie's Angels?
Ozzie's Angel's is a not-for-profit organization that was started by my
brother's friends to help teach disabled children how to swim. My brother was a
DM: You will quickly learn there are thousands of Cardinal fans that follow the organization's minor league system with great interest. What should they know about you that they probably don't know?
AC: I am a very shy and humble young man that loves to play ball. I am very low key and talk very little until I get to know you.
I appreciate Alex for taking the time to do this piece. Also, I thank him for sharing the story of his brother, which I know, can be very difficult to do. For those interested in learning more about Ozzie's Angels can visit their website: http://www.myspace.com/ozziesangels
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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