Bob Nutting, the owner and chairman of the Pittsburgh Pirates, announced plans in February 2019 to double the size of the team’s existing Baseball Academy in the Dominican Republic.
The Pirates had spent $5 million on the first effort, which had produced only a few Dominican-born prospects so far.
Mr. Nutting was probably fully unaware that the Pirates had a Dominican-born youngster named Rodolfo Castro in their system who was poised to break into the top prospects list the coming summer while he was making this statement.
During the international amateur free-agency period, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed the 16-year-old shortstop to a $150,000 deal on October 30, 2015.
The Pirates assigned him to the DSL Pirates (Pittsburgh’s Foreign Rookie Level Affiliate) of the Dominican Year League the following summer, giving him his first taste of professional baseball.
The 6′, 200-pound switch-hitting shortstop fared admirably for a 17-year-old.
Castro had a slash line of .271/.360/.411, with two home runs and 20 extra base hits in 56 games and 230 plate appearances.
Castro hit .277/.344/479 with 6 homers and 22 extra base hits for the GCL Pirates (Pittsburgh’s Rookie Level Affiliate) in the Gulf Coast League the following year in three fewer games.
Castro began to split his defensive time almost exactly three ways this season, at second base (15), third base (17), and shortstop (19).
His natural SS and adopted second base positions were clearly his best, but he also played effectively at third base.
Castro joined the West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh’s previous Low A Affiliate) in the South Atlantic League for the 2018 season after taking his second full winter off in a row.
His steadiness from his first two seasons in the Pirates’ farm system did not carry over into his third season.
His strikeout rate increased to 26%, his walk rate decreased to 6.8%, his batting average dipped to .231 and he only had 35 extra base hits in double the number of games as the previous two seasons.
Another difference was that he played more games at second base (89 games) than he did at his drafted position of SS for the first time in his career (12 Games).
Where Is Rodolfo Castro From?
Rodolfo Castro is from El Llano, Dominican Republic.