Phillies Prospect #32: Leandro Castro

After hitting a bump in the road at Lakewood last season, Leandro Castro bounced right back and has himself poised for another shot at the South Atlantic League.

Acquired: Signed as an international free agent in 2007.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 5' 11"   Weight: 175 pounds
Birth Date: June 15, 1989
2009 Team(s): Lakewood (22 G), Williamsport (66 G)
Positions/Games: CF (38), RF (25), LF (20)
2009 Ranking: #28

Why Castro fell to 32: Leandro Castro was asked to make the jump from the Gulf Coast League to the South Atlantic League to start the 2009 season, a decision that was based on his performance in the GCL in 2008 and the fact that the Phillies believed he was ready for the move. After about five weeks with Lakewood, it became too obvious that Castro wasn't just not ready to make the move, but was completely overmatched against many of the better pitchers. He was pulled down to the Phillies extended camp in Clearwater and worked with coaches there on refining his swing before the short-season New York - Penn League opened in June and he was assigned to Williamsport. The hard work paid off and Castro rebounded nicely with the CrossCutters, showing that there were no ill effects from his short stint with Lakewood.

Category Leandro Castro New York - Penn League
PA/2B 14.6 23.7
PA/3B 55.4 112.1
PA/HR 39.6 90.6
PA/RBI 6.4 10.1
PA/R 5.8 8.9
PA/BB 21.3 11.6
PA/KO 5.6 4.9
AVG .316 .245
OBP .351 .320
SLG .512 .351
Categories with numbers in white show areas where the player outperformed the average player in the their league during the 2009 season. Categories with numbers in black show areas where he was below the league average.

Batting and Power: Castro is a very aggressive hitter, who can get himself into trouble when he becomes too aggressive. He'd be wiser to work on taking a few more pitches and trying to draw a few more walks, which might also cut down on his strikeouts, which are high for the type of hitter that he is. Castro can take advantage of pitcher's mistakes on occasion, but power isn't what he'll be known for as a hitter. Instead, Castro is more of a line drive type hitter who simply hits what he can, where he can and hopes for the best. He's shown some nice minor league averages - a career .298 minor league hitter if you deduct his Lakewood numbers - and he should be able to maintain a fairly high average, but as he faces better pitchers, he's going to have to make adjustments and lay off pitches that he can't do much with.

Baserunning and Speed: Stealing bases isn't just a matter of speed; there's a definite art to master and Castro hasn't quite mastered the art of reading pitchers to get the best possible jump. He stole 20 bases last season, but was thrown out 10 times, not because he lacks speed, but because he lacks the skills that he needs to be proficient at stealing bases.

Defense: This is an area where Castro continues to get better and better. He played all three outfield positions last season, but seems most comfortable in center field rather than at one of the corners. He's corrected some of the flaws in his throws ands had eight outfield assists last season between his two minor league stops. Defensively, he's becoming a very strong prospect.

Projection: So, do the Phillies send Castro back to Lakewood to start the season? Odds are that they will, and they should. He worked hard in extended camp and at Williamsport and has the tools he needs to succeed this time around if they do give him the opportunity to hit the South Atlantic League again this season. Castro is still just 20 years old - he turns 21 in June - and works very hard at improving his game. He could have withdrew after his horrid experience with Lakewood last season, but he used it to drive himself and is likely ready to return to the BlueClaws.

Leandro Castro's career stats

2007 DSL 59 223 41 62 3 5 6 37 24 9 26 39 .278
2008 GCL 44 161 25 48 9 1 3 19 9 4 4 25 .298
2009 Lakewood 22 66 9 10 4 0 0 6 2 1 5 15 .152
2009 Williamsport 66 256 48 81 19 5 7 43 18 9 13 49 .316
2009 2 Teams 88 322 57 91 23 5 7 49 20 10 18 64 .283
3 Seasons 191 706 123 201 35 11 16 105 53 23 48 128 .285

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