Position: Right-handed Pitcher Height: 5-11 Weight: 200
Born: 11/14/1982 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Castro came stateside a little later than many Dominican prospects, enrolling at Western Oklahoma State Junior College last fall, as a 22-year old. It didn't take him long to make his presence felt, with a strong fall season, and a dominating spring. While posting a 9-1 record for Western, Castro sported a 1.38 ERA and over twelve strikeouts per nine innings, in just over 65 frames on the hill. Angel's efforts earned him All-Southwest Region 1st Team honors, and a selection by the Tigers in the 13th round of the 2006 draft.
While the Tigers would have likely sent Castro to Oneonta due to his advanced age, difficulties in obtaining a work visa that late in the year relegated him to pitching in the Dominican Summer League. Angel finished his summer strong, notching a 0.75 WHIP; a figure good enough for 3rd in the DSL. Over an additional 58 innings of work as a starter, Castro picked up a 4-1 record and 71 more strikeouts.
Angel is a little on the small side by many of today's standards for right-handed pitchers, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in strength and durability. With a strong, think lower half, Castro generates plenty of power, taking stress off his arm, and allowing him to pitch regularly without any soreness.
His package is highlighted by a fastball that sits at 90-93, and touched 95 routinely over the summer. He can also pull a little off, turning a two-seam fastball over to generate solid sinking action late in the zone. His primary breaking ball is a hard darting, 83-85 mph knuckle-curve that has true plus potential. His change-up has the potential to develop into an average pitch, but he was rarely forced to use it in junior college or the DSL, leaving it inconsistent at this time. His control has been superb in the past, and projects to remain that way with easily repeated mechanics.
Angel is extremely poised on the mound, and uses his intelligence to his advantage in making hitters look foolish with fastballs on the black and off-speed pitches spotted throughout the zone. His intelligence and work ethic have been evidenced by his desire and ability to learn the English language at a high level, in less than six months. His make-up, stuff, and willingness to challenge hitters could lead to a role as a high-leverage reliever down the road.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG R
Castro repeats his clean mechanics well, and has demonstrated an uncanny durability. Health for pitchers is as much a skill as it is genetics or luck, and Angel has the "health skill."
With any remaining visa issues likely in his rear view mirror, Castro should begin to climb the ladder quickly. He has a very intriguing all around arsenal, and his advanced feel for pitching should enable him to succeed against top-tier hitters in short order. Given the fact that he likely would have started his pro career in Oneonta, don't be surprised if he leaps all the way to West Michigan in his first full professional season.
Despite his history of starting in college and the DSL, Castro's future likely lies in the bullpen, as a set-up guy with the ability to shut down the competition. Because of his relative inexperience in using his curveball and change-up, the Tigers may try to keep him in a rotation for the time being, giving him the necessary innings to further develop those offerings he will certainly need as he moves up the organizational rungs. While his age was a detractor in many team's eyes on draft day, he still merits plenty of attention, and could make noise at the upper levels within a couple of years.
Mark Anderson covers the Tigers' minor league system and all of minor league baseball for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.