“Fearless” Miguel Castro Has Been a Welcome Addition to the Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks reliever Miguel Castro pitching against the Red Sox
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“Fearless” Miguel Castro a Welcome Addition to the Diamondbacks

PHOENIX — With the way 2022 went, the Arizona Diamondbacks desperately needed to improve their late-inning relief pitching. They weren’t one player away, though — they needed several dependable pitchers. One player available was a veteran with “stuff,” but his time with his previous team ended unceremoniously — Miguel Castro.

But the Diamondbacks were glad to have him. And despite his recent hiccups, his season in Arizona has gone well so far. In 27 1/3 innings across 30 appearances, he has racked up seven saves in nine chances to the tune of a 1.207 WHIP. Of his 30 appearances, 24 have been scoreless — top ten in the NL — for a percentage of 80.0%. By comparison, the NL average is 69.1%.

Miguel Castro on the Field

The recent ten-game homestand saw a disappointing ending against the Atlanta Braves on June 4, where Castro surrendered a two-out ninth-inning grand slam to lose the lead. But that doesn’t change who he is or what his mindset is. “He’s fearless. He loves the big moments,” pitching coach Brent Strom said of Castro. “We’ve put him in some situations where he’s performed very, very well.”

“He’s a guy that’s been around for a while and has had a lot of success,” ace right-hander Zac Gallen said. “It’s good to be able to hand him the ball in those later innings.”

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Castro’s “preparation” is “one of the great qualities that nobody gets to see unless you’re around him every single day. He works as hard as anybody. And the game seems like it’s just the time where he’s executing and processing all the hard work that he’s put in, letting him come out at home plate. I think he’s been fantastic for us, but it comes with a lot of hard work.” Lovullo added that his “secondary stuff” has been “very consistent since the first outing,” adding that it comes from “a lot of hard work.”

A New Start in Arizona

Castro has almost exclusively been a setup man in his career, and that’s what the Diamondbacks signed him to do. However, with their lack of a true closer, they have used him, along with Andrew Chafin, to be “back-end guys.” Lovullo usually switches between Castro and the left-handed Andrew Chafin to get the most favorable matchups late in games. This has been fine with Castro so far. “He just wants to get the ball and get big outs,” Lovullo said. “He’s as good as anybody.”

Castro had a fairly good but injury-plagued season with the New York Yankees in 2022, putting up zeroes in 26 of his 34 appearances (76.4%). In the playoffs, Castro made two appearances, both in the ALCS. Against the eventual World Champion Houston Astros, Castro pitched an inning each in Games One and Three. Both times, he sat the Astros down 1–2–3, but after the Astros swept the Yankees, Castro was one of the players the Yankees did not bring back.

So when the Diamondbacks came calling, Castro — who had let the season pass and was working hard for the next one — was excited about the “opportunity.” Through team interpreter Alex Arpiza, Castro said, “I knew if I came here that I was going to get the opportunity. I’m thankful to God that I came here. I’ve been very comfortable. I’m thankful for the manager. Torey has given me so much confidence, so much trust, and plenty of opportunity to be here, do my job, and have success.”

Miguel Castro the Teammate

The rest of the Diamondbacks love him as a teammate. To a man, everyone Sport Relay asked has said how nice a guy Miguel Castro is. Kevin Ginkel, who is represented by the same agency as Castro, got to know him before Castro signed with the Diamondbacks. “One of the nicest guys I’ve been around,” Ginkel said. “Always has a smile on his face, always has a good attitude coming to the field.”

“Awesome guy,” fellow back-end reliever Scott McGough said.

“Really nice guy,” Gallen said. “Comes in every day and says hello to everyone.”

“Phenomenal teammate,” left-handed middle reliever Kyle Nelson said. “Extremely kind, generous, good human being…. He’s the most gentle, kind person I’ve ever been around.”

Nelson, one of the few returning relievers from 2022, has loved having Castro on the squad. He continued, “He’s been great. Obviously has really, really good stuff. He’s just a really good big-league pitcher.” When told how high Castro ranks in the NL with scoreless appearances, Nelson smiled proudly and nodded. He then said, “That doesn’t surprise me at all, and I expect that to continue.”

“Grateful and Thankful to Be Here”

Miguel Castro, who entered the league in 2015, has pitched for five teams prior to this season. But he seems to have found a home in Arizona, by early indications. Ginkel pointed out that Castro has helped a lot with the young players, especially the Latin American players. McGough, a 33-year-old rookie, feels that Castro having played for five teams prior to Arizona is a benefit. “He has really good experience to help us,” McGough said. “In the bullpen, he speaks English to us. … So it’s kind of cool picking his brain on certain things or seeing him go about his work.”

Castro is one who leads by example. McGough and the other relievers have noticed. “He’s such a true professional,” McGough said. “Every day, he goes about his work. He’s always in the weight room, always doing his stuff. Always doing his arm care. That sets a good standard for a lot of the young guys to see. Here’s this guy who’s a big-time big leaguer, and this is how he goes about his business.”

Nelson added that “he’s been a great help and addition to the team.” For Nelson, “watching him and paying attention to him” has been a great example of consistency. “That consistent demeanor — calm, not really getting too high or too low, keeping every day the same — has definitely been something to follow.”

When Castro arrived in Arizona, he let the staff know about his workout program he brought over from the Dominican Republic. “With all the pitching coaches, communication has been great,” Castro said through Arpiza. “Mike (Fetters, the bullpen coach), (Strom) — I’m very grateful and thankful to be here. I’ll continue to work, but things have been excellent so far.”

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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