Despite not being as well-known as some of his peers, Toronto Blue Jays prospect Miguel Castro is quickly climbing up the organizational depth chart and could be knocking on the door to the major leagues soon.

Signed as an international prospect in 2011, Castro had a breakout season in 2014 during which he moved up three different minor league levels and posted a 2.68 ERA in 80.2 innings pitched.

Despite only weighing in at 190 pounds, the 6’5” Castro possesses a fastball that usually sits in the high 90s and has been clocked at as high as 100 mph. The right-hander mixes his fastball with a sharp slider and a changeup that both have the potential to be above-average offerings at the major league level in the future.

Since starting his pro career, the 20-year-old Castro has put up very strong numbers in the minor leagues. He has a career ERA of 2.47 along with 186 strikeouts in 171 innings pitched. Unlike most young pitchers his age, Castro has actually displayed decent control of his pitches. He’s given up just 55 walks in the minors.

Invited into major league camp this spring, Castro has performed well early on in Grapefruit League games. He’s thrown two scoreless innings while working as a reliever.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the Blue Jays decide to use Castro from here on out. While he’s been a starting pitcher for most of his minor league career, Toronto could opt to accelerate Castro’s ascent to the majors by converting him to a reliever.

Keep in mind that the Blue Jays desperately need relievers after their bullpen finished 25th in the majors in ERA last season. Toronto also didn’t acquire any new end-high relievers this offseason and will go with in-house options for its bullpen this season.

While Castro ideally needs at least one more season in the minors in order to hone his secondary pitches and become ready to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues, he could make the big league team as early as this season if Toronto converts him to a reliever.

Coming out of the bullpen, Castro wouldn’t need to use his off-speed pitches regularly and could rely on his plus fastball to get hitters out.

It’s worth noting that the Blue Jays used a similar strategy last season with top prospect Aaron Sanchez. Despite not throwing many off-speed pitches, Sanchez posted a 1.09 ERA in 33 innings while throwing his fastball 88 percent of the time, per FanGraphsPITCHf/x.

If Castro can do the same thing, he could become a dominant power arm in Toronto’s bullpen during the 2015 season. If the Blue Jays decide not to go this route, Castro will be sent down to the minors at the end of spring training.

Regardless of what happens next, Castro has quickly started to make a name for himself within the organization and has become one of the team’s top prospects. Look for him to make an impact with the Blue Jays soon.


All stats are from FanGraphs

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