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Charting Miguel Castro – Part Dos

The Canadians returned to sunny Vancouver Friday evening after, what seemed like (to me at least), an interminably long road trip, to face their perennial North division rival the Everett Aquasox. Miguel Castro was on the bump for the C’s, making his sixth start of the season. It was hot as Hades at the Nat so no weather excuses for the Dominican native as I chart him for the second time this season. I’ve decided to leave behind the paper and pen approach and start my new spreadsheet era of charting, so apologies if things are a bit muddled. We’ll work through any technical difficulties in time. I’ve also included some video of Castro which I’ll endeavour to have studied by someone with a far greater aptitude for pitching mechanics.

Below is the first stab at a table with the relevant information on the night.  If anyone wants me to try to add anything, by all means, please let us know:

Running Pitch Count FBs Sliders Change
Totals 71 42 13 16
Strikes 51 Min 93 80 80
Ballls 20 Max 98 84 85
Avg Velo 95 82 82

Despite the impressive line of 5 IPs with 0 earned and only 3 hits allowed, I don’t think Castro was as sharp as when I charted him back on the 20th of June.  His fastball, especially the 2-seamer didn’t have as much run as you’d like and wasn’t generating many swings and misses.  In fact, I only have one whiff on a fastball, the rest (only 8 in total) were on off-speed stuff.

He was locating it well though, getting a lot of looking strikes while also generating very weak contact for a lot of the outs.  When he did miss his spot though, the Aquasox were taking some good hacks.  Sitting behind home plate, with his low 3/4 arm slot I think hitters get a good look at the fastball, especially if it isn’t moving all that much.

Castro’s slider wasn’t terribly sharp either.  Often very flat with little break, especially later in the game.  The one hit against that was hammered was off the bat of Kristian Brito when Castro came with the below sequence:

Velo 84 81 85 82
Pitch 2 3 3 2
Result S S F I

(2=slider, 3=change)

After getting Brito off-balance early in the count (the two swings and misses were wild) I think a fastball on either half of the plate would have either generated very weak contact or set the ‘Sox first basemen up for another breaking ball.  By giving him two more off-speed, Brito was able to maintain the same bat speed and eventually smoke a line drive to left-center on a slider that did absolutely nothing.

I can’t remember if Castro shook off catcher Michael De La Cruz so not sure who to blame for that sequence.  On a side note, am looking forward to seeing Pentecost work with Castro (and the other young pitchers) when he does arrive.

With 16 change ups thrown on the night, it far surpassed the two I saw in the last start.  There were definitely a few Friday that were plus, with great arm side run and depth.  Others were flat.  If you look at the average velocity in the above chart there is no separation between the slider and change.  That’s a problem.  I think (and I’ll try to confirm this with pitching coach Jeff Ware) that if they want Miguel to throw the slider in the 81-84 range then they probably want the change to firm up a bit.  Possibly in the mid-80s.

Speaking of velocity, there were a few comments in the press box after the game saying it was down on the night.  I’m not sure that’s possible given he averaged 95 mph on his fastball over 42 pitches, but some thought the question worth asking:

There was one nine pitch at bat in the 5th where Castro threw six fastballs, all in the 92/93 range which probably had most forgetting that he was regularly hitting 95/96 and even running it up to 98 occasionally the rest of the night.

Anyway, the promised video:

Notes From Behind the Dish (as opposed to the pressbox):

I got chatting to a Kansas City Royals scout (there were at least 6/7 scouts in attendance on the night) who said he was impressed with Castro’s fastball, but said he didn’t really see much in either breaking ball.  He actually said he liked Jairo Labourt more “at this stage” even though Labourt didn’t throw as well during his start.  I don’t think it’s much to worry about though, Castro’s slider, as mentioned above, was very flat on the night, and like the scout would say, “he’s only 19 and throws 95, they have plenty of time to teach him a decent breaking ball.”

Scouting the Northwest League is probably the first (or maybe second) time organizations get eyes on these guys.  It’s not for trading purposes, but just to ‘start the paperwork.’

Alberto Tirado was sitting behind me working the gun.  He confirmed, despite his protestations that he didn’t speak any English, that he was pulled after only an inning Thursday night because he’d thrown 44 pitches.

Rumour has it that ‘Mad’ Max Pentecost won’t arrive in Vancouver until after this homestand due to paperwork issues.  Someone should have told the Everett Aquasox that they would eventually need to come to Canada.  Fully 12 members of the team couldn’t cross the border which left DH Luke Guarnaccia to pitch the ninth for the WaterSox.

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