Casteel has strong week
by JOE CANNON Banner Assistant Sports Editor
Mar 09, 2014 | 422 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ryan Casteel
Ryan Casteel
Ryan Fraser
Ryan Fraser
After starting off his first Major League Spring Training with a bang, Ryan Casteel has followed up with a strong week in a half dozen Colorado Rockies Cactus League games.

Smacking a home run in his first Major League at bat, the former Bradley Central and Cleveland State standout has added a pair of doubles, a single and a walk in his 11 plate appearances since.

Hitting at a .364 clip, with a .417 on base percentage, the 2013 California League Catcher of the Year has driven in a pair of runs and scored twice himself. He has an .818 slugging percentage and a 1.235 OPS, before the Rockies’ game Saturday against the Oakland A’s.

After pinching hitting in his first four appearances, Casteel served as the Rockies’ designated hitter in his last two games against the Texas Rangers Wednesday and Los Angeles Angels Friday. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a walk and a run scored against the Rangers.

Belting 22 dingers during a strong season of Advanced-A ball in Modesto, Calif., last summer, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound signal caller traveled to Australia for three months of winter ball, earning All-Star status, and leading the league in several offensive categories, including 11 home runs.

Bradley County’s other Minor League baseball player, Ryan Fraser, is also starting his fifth professional season.

After having off-season knee surgery last winter, the former Walker Valley and University of Memphis hurler got a late start to the summer season. After a short rehab stint at High A Port St. Lucie, Fla., the New York Mets organization sent Fraser back to Class AA Binghamton, N.Y., where he had finished the previous campaign.

He posted a 1-2 record with a 5.24 ERA in 24 games for Binghamton, striking out 22 batters in 34.1 innings on the hill last summer.

Fraser went to Puerto Rico to play winter ball for Leones de Ponce of the Caribbean League. The big right-hander appeared in five games, with 7.2 inning pitched, striking out five batters, walking one. He finished with an 0-1 pitching record and a 2.45 earned run average.

Currently the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder in the Mets’ Minor League Spring Training Camp in Port St. Lucie, but no individual stats are available on him.

Both Fraser and Casteel were taken in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Fraser to the Mets in the 16th round, while Casteel went in the 17th round to the Rockies.