Prospect Files: Ismael Castro

The Mariners are stocked at the middle-infield positions throughout their minor league system, and one of the most promising young prospects is a 20-year-old Columbian-born player by the name of Ismael Castro. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2000, Castro has made the most of his opportunities as a member of M's organization.

Position: 2B
Born: August 14, 1983
Place: Cartagena, Colombia
Height: 5-9
Weight: 187
Bats: Both
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Signed as undrafted free-agent in 2000

Ismael Castro began his professional baseball career in 2000 with San Felipe in the Venezuelan Summer League. At age 17 he hit .302 and showed the top of the order skills that the M's saw in him when they signed him. Castro spent a second season in the VSL with Aguirre and hit an even .300 with improved fielding and baserunning in 2001. His 23 steals led the team.

Castro's stock sky-rocketed in 2002 when he hit .313 with nine homeruns 46 RBI and 13 steals for Everett in the Northwest League at age 19. His success earned him a cup of coffee with San Bernardino as well as the Northwest League MVP award.

The slick fielding Colombian-born Castro spent all of 2003 with the Inland Empire 66ers of the California League, meaning he completely skipped entry-level Class-A baseball. For a 19-year-old, this is considered to be somewhat of a fast track. His solid all-around play this past season could earn him a promotion to Double-A San Antonio. Of all his stats in 2003, the most impressive might be his ability to put the ball in play. Castro had just 33 strikeouts in 347 plate appearances.

TOOLS: Grading Scale

Stick: 60+
A switch-hitting contact hitter with a short, compact swing, Castro has limited power and doesn't walk much. His line-drive swing produces plenty of base hits, and he could develop gap-power in the future.

Glove/Defense: 60+
Average range and insticts at the middle infield positions, Castro's arm is more suited for 2B than SS at the big-league level.

Wheels: 60
Not a burner, Castro does have solid speed and would benefit by increasing his patience at the plate and drawing more walks to up his stolen base totals.

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