Batting clean up in the Modesto Nut lineup, the former Bradley Central and Cleveland State standout is reaching base at a .409 clip the last two weeks, with five doubles and four home runs in his 16 hits over the span.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound catcher and designated hitter for the Colorado Rockies Advanced A farm club, cranked his 15th homer of the season and drove in his 49th run with a two-run shot in the fourth inning of a 10-6 Modesto victory over Visalia, Calif., (Arizona Diamondbacks) Friday evening.
During his recent streak, Casteel has been hitting .390 with eight runs scored, 13 RBI, an .805 slugging percentage and a 1.214 OPS.
The 2010 17th round Rockies’ draft choice in second in the California League in slugging percentage (.616), fifth in OPS (.961), tied for fifth in home runs (15), tied for sixth in RBI (49) and 12th in total bases (125) so far this season.
He has pushed his overall marks to a .296 batting average in 52 games played and leads the Nuts with 16 doubles, plus his 15 “jacks” (no other teammate has more than 9), RBI, slugging percentage and OPS. He also has a pair of triples in his 60 hits. Casteel has also walked 16 times and scored 34 times.
After going 32-38 in the first half of the season, Modesto has won the first two games of the second half.
Returning to Class AA just a little over three weeks ago, Bradley County’s other pro player, Ryan Fraser, has had a few struggles, but is coming off a good outing in his last trip to the mound.
A relief pitcher for the Binghamton, N.Y., Mets, the former Walker Valley and University of Memphis fireballer hurled a scoreless inning Wednesday.
In five appearances since his return to the team, he pitched in 26 games for the second half of last season. Fraser has a 5.14 earned run average with just four strikeouts and seven walks in seven innings pitched. Opposing batters are hitting just .217 against him.
After off-season ACL surgery, Fraser had to wait until the doctors released him for training first of May before being able to get ready for this season. He made five rehab appearances at Class A Port St. Lucie, Fla., before returning to the Mets team in south central New York state near the Pennsylvania border.
Former Lee University lefty Clint Terry got his first professional action Friday, working three scoreless relief innings, giving up just one hit and striking out a half dozen for the Arizona League (Milwaukee) Brewers.
Terry’s former Flame and current teammate Alex Moore took the loss in his first pro game, giving up six hits and three earned runs in 1.1 innings of relief work in the same game.
Texas Ranger free agent signee Roberto Duran has been in three games since joining the Spokane, Wash., Rookie League squad. The former Lee third baseman is yet to get a hit in 10 official at bats, but has walked once, plus drove in a pair of runs on ground outs Wednesday.
Former Flame pitchers Andy Hillis and Jose Samayoa are yet to make their pro debuts. Hillis is in Helena, Mont., with Milwaukee’s Rookie League team, while Samayoa is on the roster for the Rangers Arizona League squad.