The New York Yankees haven’t made any blockbuster pitching moves this off-season, but general manager Brian Cashman may have struck gold with a relief acquisition from the New York Mets. Typically, the Yankees and Mets don’t execute crosstown trades, but in this situation, they swapped relief pitchers that may fit each other‘s mold more efficiently.
The Bombers acquired Miguel Castro in exchange for Joely Rodriguez, who has spent the last two years with the Mets before featuring in Baltimore’s system between 2017 and 2019. With the Mets in 2021, he posted a 3.45 ERA over 70.1 innings, featuring a 9.85 strikeouts per nine rate and 76.8% left on-base percentage.
The Yankees gained a perfect bullpen arm:
Castro is exactly the type of pitcher the Yankees are looking for, featuring phenomenal velocity with his pitches. Last year, Castro averaged 98.1 mph with his fastball after posting 98.6 with the Mets in 2020. He also mixes in a slider at 85 mph and change-up at nearly 90 mph on average.
Castro has flashed signs of brilliance, but a few tweaks could take his game to another level. At 27 years old, Castro has one year left of team control before hitting free agency, and the Yankees just might be able to turn him into one of their best relief pitchers in the middle innings.
So far this spring, Castro has made four appearances over 4.0 innings, giving up just two hits and striking out three batters. Overall, he’s been highly productive to start the year, making his first appearance wearing pinstripes against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. Castro pitched one inning despite the Yankee loss, striking out two batters and showcasing phenomenal stuff.
The highest velocity Castro has touched with his fastball is 98.6 mph, throwing it 54.2% of the time over 10 games with the Mets in 2020. The Yankees may manage to tweak a few of his fundamentals, giving him a bit more power behind his pitches, which could be the reason they sent Joely Rodriguez on his way in the deal.
No matter how you look at it, the Yankees gained a quality relief arm, but based on his metrics and potential, there’s a reason to believe he could end up being an absolute steal for the 2022 season and potentially beyond.