Castillo Focusing On Offspeed

Castillo is working on his curveball

Noel Castillo has posted some solid numbers in his short career thus far, thanks in large part to his plus fastball. The soon-to-be 25-year old, however, has made improving his secondary pitches - his breaking pitches in particular - a priority this year and moving forward.

"I've felt pretty good about it," Noel Castillo said of his 2008 season through the help of a translator. "I've felt on and off this year. I've had some bad outings, but I feel pretty good and I'm happy with how my stuff has been coming along."

A fastball-changeup pitcher mostly throughout his career at the lower levels, the Yankees had Castillo focus more on his curveball and slider in Charleston this season and that led to some inconsistent performances.

"My plan for the year and the adjustments I had to make were with my curveball," he admitted. "I want to get more bite to it and then I've been working on a slider, but my focus was on all my offspeed pitches."

He possesses a fastball that not only tops out at 95 MPH but has a lot of late life to it, often times giving opposing batters the appearance it's coming in even quicker.

Comfortable and confident with throwing his heater in any count, the Dominican native says the first step towards improving his breaking pitches this season was tweaking his mechanics.

"Being able to stay straight with my load and throwing across my body has been helping a lot," he revealed, "so I would say it's because my mechanics have improved."

Castillo posted a solid 3.90 ERA and struck out 119 batters in 127 innings for the Riverdogs, and even picked up a win in his lone start for the Tampa Yankees in his final start of the year [striking out seven batters in six innings], but he knows things could have been a lot better had his curveball and slider been there all season.

"Throughout the year it's been working on that curveball," he said of what he would have changed, "and I would have liked to have made some more progress with that."

Pleased with his impressive fastball-changeup combination, he knows that perfecting his breaking pitches would only help accelerate his track through the minor leagues and help make him a more effective pitcher overall.

"I want to work hard in the offseason and try and lose some weight, as well as work on the curveball for next year," he concluded.

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