Currently, and throughout at least the past year-or-so, the biggest name pitching prospects in the White Sox organization have been guys like Nestor Molina, Dylan Axelrod, Erik Johnson, and Jacob Petricka among others. And while they're all still doing well, one other name is quickly rising to their level: Simon Castro.
Castro, the 24 year-old 6'5 right hander from the Dominican Republic, has been a highly touted prospect in years past. Going into 2010, he was rated by Baseball America as the game's 57th best prospect and the 58th best before 2011. But after some struggles, his name had fallen a bit and he was ultimately traded out of the San Diego Padres organization in the Carlos Quentin deal a couple years back.
In 2012, throughout 3 levels of the Sox' minor league system (Bristol, Birmingham, and Charlotte), Castro bounced back by posting an overall 7-5 record with a solid 3.85 ERA.
Most of his season was spent at AA Birmingham, though, where he posted a 6-4 record with a 3.70 ERA through 15 starts.
And so far this spring, he's picked up where he left off, wow'ing many in and around the organization. He's only pitched in 2 games, but through the 5 innings he's thrown, he has blanked the opponents while striking out 8 hitters. It's been nice to see a flash, even though it's just that, of how dominant he can be.
Castro throws in the upper 90's, has a dominant slider, and is working very hard with Don Cooper to add more pitches and control to his repitiore. All reports are that those developments/experiments are going very, very well.
Because of his huge stature and potentially unhittable stuff, he has to remind you of former Sox ace Jose Contreras at least a little bit. While don't think that's a terrible comparison, I myself actually see a little bit of Freddy Garcia in him - he's big, has a changeup that's improving quite a bit, and has a good natural sink to his pitches.
Castro certainly has the potential to be a dominant reliever in future White Sox bullpens, but if Don Cooper, Buddy Bell, and co. play their cards right, they may just have a very exciting future starter on their hands.
He's definitely a name to familiarize yourselves with, Sox fans. Read more about Simon Castro on Scouting Book.
News & Notes
The White Sox made their first cuts of the spring Tuesday morning, sending P Charlie Leesman to AAA along with shipping prospects Andy Wilkins (1B), Tyler Saladino (IF), Jacob Petricka (P), Mike Blanke (C), and Kevan Smith (C) to minor league camp.
While none of these moves come as a surprise, Leesman, Saladino, and Petricka are the main names of these 6 that we'll continue to track. Though none of them are commonly considered to be 'top 10' prospects in the team's organization, they do fall into the 11-25 range (most places you look) ... so they're definitely names worth remembering.