posted remarkable numbers in 2007 while with the Gulf Coast League Yankees. He went 6-3 with two saves and a 1.88 ERA. In fact, he led all Yankee minor league pitchers in ERA and allowed only one home run throughout the entire season. All that and he allowed seven walks while striking out fifty-one.
Though one of the older players on the Riverdogs roster, he doesn't feel any different from any of his teammates, but did feel slightly underrated because of his late signing. This faded quickly as Castillo knew he could compete against players of any age and prove himself through his pitching.
"I felt a little underrated signing later but after that I didn't think about it because I knew I could go out there and throw with any younger players," Castillo said through the help of a translator.
Riverdogs Pitching Coach Jeff Ware believes age is not an issue because of Castillo's natural rhythm and loose arm, something that enables him to play like he is years younger.
"He's a little bit older for this team but he's got a great loose arm and he's got a Major League fastball," said Ware.
The Dominican native is happy with his performance so far this year with the Riverdogs, and should be. This season he has put up a 4-2 record with a 3.61 ERA in nine games.
"So far this season has been good, the results have come out," said Castillo. "I've had two or three bad outings."
Coach Ware believes Castillo has been able to harness and find a third pitch to add to his arsenal. The Yankees have been working on adding curveball to his electric fastball and changeup.
"Coming into this year, he was struggling with getting the curveball in the proper arm slot," said Ware. "Now he's giving right-handers another look with something moving away from them instead of having to rely on his changeup."
The Riverdogs have been reworking some of his mechanics, not only helping to refine the curveball but to help him become a polished, well-rounded pitcher.
Coach Ware does not believe Castillo needs major work on his mechanics but needs to be able to repeat his motion and always keep his movements toward the plate in mind.
"Mechanically he has a little way to go and it's going to help him throw more strikes. The better mechanics you have, the better command you have and you're going to maximize your velocity."
Castillo feels he has an in-game ability to adapt quickly when he notices something is wrong. Because of the Yankees insistence on his repetition of his mechanics, he is able to immediately recognize a problem and fix it on the spot.
"I have been working so much on my mechanics that I know when I pull off my front shoulder and drop my arm," said the Dominican native. "But then I can regroup and fix it right away."
"I bounced back from two or three bad outings and I told myself I can't allow another," said the twenty four year old. "I watched video and determined what I was doing wrong and I adjusted."
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Riverdogs right-hander Noel Castillo tends to get overlooked in a Yankee system virtually overloaded with pitching talent. The Dominican pitcher signed with the Yankees at age 20, later than most international prospects and also a little older than most of the players on his team. His age, however, has not stopped him from putting up great numbers in his time with the organization.
Noel Castillo is in Charleston to refine his game and to learn how to make quick adjustments.