Tigers Prospect Profile #14: Harold Castro

It's rare that you find any prospect coming out of Venezuela that immediately finds himself among the top 30 the year after signing, but that's exactly what happened with Harold Castro, and after his first year stateside, he's vaulted himself up another notch into the top 15. What's so impressive about the youngster?

Harold Castro
Position: Second Baseman
Height: 6-0
Weight: 155
Born: 11/30/1993
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2010
Ranking History: #28 (2011)

Background
The Tigers inked Castro to a deal right before the start of the 2011 season and he jumped right into the VSL as a 17-year old and hit .313/.352/.365 in 63 games. The youngster popped ten doubles and his first professional home run while also stealing 24 bases.

After having such success in his debut season, the Tigers didn't hesitate to bring Castro stateside for the 2012 season where he again excelled at the plate, this time in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. His .311 batting average led the way but he also walked ten times and only struck out 25 in 193 at-bats. He showed more power as well, ripping 14 doubles, two triples and another home run. On top of all that, he continued to show speed on the bases with 15 steals in 18 attempts.

Scouting Report
Still very young, Castro has a projectable body with good length and plenty of lean muscle. He has room to bulk up a little more without losing his athleticism, and that additional strength could enhance his offensive game.

Castro can flat out hit. There were some scouts that I spoke with last year that though Castro might be the best pure hitter in the Tigers minor league system. He has an amazing feel for hitting that allows him to make consistent contact on all types of pitches both in and out of the strike zone.

Castro has very strong forearms, wrists and hands that allow him to snap the bat to and through the zone with ease. He has a quiet load and the bat is consistently entering the hitting zone on time. While his pitch recognition is raw, his ability to manipulate the head of the bat and get the barrel to the ball is extremely impressive. He can work the ball from line to line with ease and he has a chance to hit .290+ at his peak.

The development of Castro's strength as he reaches physical maturity will dictate how much power emerges in his game. He has the bat speed to pop 25-plus doubles and 5-6 home runs a year but that could take a while to manifest. Regardless, Castro won't be a powerless hitter, as he should find the gaps with some regularity and his speed should help create some extra-base hits as well.

Castro consistently clocks in with above-average to plus times from home to first. He gets out of the box well and I have gotten him as low as 3.98 seconds down the line. He has good instincts on the bases and should steal 20-plus stolen bases with a high success rate at higher levels.

Castro is not a natural defender but he has worked hard and made dramatic improvements with the glove since signing two years ago. In an effort to soften his hands, he exaggerates his fielding motion, working hard to cradle the ball, field it cleanly and make a smooth transfer. As he develops, his actions should become more natural. He needs to improve his double-play turn. Castro's arm is an average to solid-average tool that plays well at second base.

Castro is walking the prospect tightrope with a profile that requires his offensive game to max out for him to be a contributing big league player. If everything comes together he could be an excellent hitter with gap power, good speed and average defense, making him a solid regular at second base.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

R

GCL Tigers

193

.311

14

1

21

25

10

.343

.420


Health Record
Castro has yet to experience a significant injury in his career. He will need to get stronger to improve his stamina and maximize his tools.

Projection
Castro is a gifted hitter with a wealth of offensive tools that could make him a very nice player. He needs to continue getting stronger so he can drive the ball more consistently and he also needs to develop a more mature plan at the plate to avoid getting himself out with weak contact outside of the strike zone. With those developments, Castro can become a solid everyday player whose bat carries him through the minor leagues.

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