Padres Prospect Interview: Simon Castro

A year ago, San Diego Padres prospect Simon Castro was a raw hurler. Maturation and unparalleled dedication has made hum more of a pitcher than thrower. The future remains bright.

You were very effective against left-handed hitters last year. Why did you see so much success against lefties?

Simon Castro: I put a lot of emphasis on that because every team I pitch against throws out left-handed hitters so I wanted to put an emphasis on that. That is why I think I got better with that. I was throwing them changeups a little more and the two-seam. The key was also pitching inside more.

You have worked on improving your mechanics over the last two years. Do you feel there is still room to improve in that area?

Simon Castro: I have improved a lot. I work hard on that everyday. My mechanics are a lot better. I have a more consistent release point. I think that has helped my command a lot – absolutely. It makes me throw good strikes.

Being able to throw the slider and changeup for strikes is important – are you at the stage where you can really begin to setup hitters with your off-speed pitches?

Simon Castro: The way I have been throwing right now, I have a lot more confidence in my pitches. I have better mechanics so that has led to better confidence, especially with my changeup. I can throw sequences, using all of my pitches and just throwing better overall.

Eugene manager Greg Riddoch said you came two years in one year. What does that mean?

Simon Castro: I think he saw a lot of improvement in me and that is what he means when he said that.

The opposition saw some success in stealing bases off you last year. How can you improve in that area?

Simon Castro: I have to put emphasis on it. It is something I am working on – to be faster to home plate. I also have to hold the base runners better. I need to work on that. Last year and the year before I think I was more focused on the hitter. I think now I can be more aggressive with that.

You have learned English very well over the last few years and were one of the leaders in the dugout and ‘Spanish Town'. Does learning the language give you an advantage over other players coming from Latin America?

Simon Castro: That was really fun. That was to have fun at the games and to make the games exciting. I put a lot of emphasis on speaking English fast. It is good for me and important. I try to be happy all the time and this helps. I make time to learn. It is huge for me. I can learn so much faster by knowing English. I want to be in the big leagues and think this is an important step.

Some guys say that they need to learn English because they see me talking to American players.

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