Ryan Casteel’s bat continues to send baseballs out of the park in all directions as he cranked two more in Friday evening’s 5-2 Tulsa Driller victory.
The Bradley County native continues to lead the Colorado Rockies Double-A farm team in home runs this season, upping his mark to 14 with the double-shot effort over the Northern Division-leading Arkansas Travelers.
With a three-run blast in the opening inning and a solo crank in the eighth frame Friday, Casteel’s four-RBI night upped his team-leading “ribbie” mark to 46. The former Bradley Central and Cleveland State standout also leads the team in slugging percentage (.474) and OPS (.809).
The All-Star catcher/first baseman is second on the Drillers in five other offensive categories — batting average (.283), runs scored (48), hits (91), doubles (17) and total bases (152).
He is also in the Top 10 in the Texas League in eight offensive categories — HR (T-3rd), slugging percentage (4th), OPS (6th), total bases (6th), RBIs (T-6th), BA (7th), hits (T-7th), runs (T-9th). He is 11th in the league in doubles.
After winning the league’s Player of the Week award and being selected for the all-star game in June, Casteel has continued his torrid pace, having hit .375 with a .444 on base percentage, a .675 slugging percentage and a 1.119 OPS in his last 10 games. During that span he ripped 15 hits, including a trio of homers and three doubles, driving in a total of nine runs, while scoring seven himself.
Bradley County’s other professional player started off strong on his return to the Double-A level, but has struggled some in the last month.
After starting the season with an extended stay in Florida to rehab and injury, around Memorial Day Ryan Fraser returned to Binghamton, N.Y., for the third straight year.
The former Walker Valley and University of Memphis standout was strong in his first nine appearances, allowing just a half dozen hits and no earned runs. He struck out six and walked only one in 11 innings of work for the New York Mets farmclub.
Currently his is up to 16 relief appearances with the Eastern League squad, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound right-hander has a 2-2 record with a 5.23 earned run average, having allowed 14 hits, and a dozen earned runs in his last seven trips to the hill.
While still in the Sunshine State playing High-A ball for Port St. Lucie before heading north, Fraser made seven appearances in Florida State League games, posting a 1-1 record with a save. In 12.2 innings pitched he struck out nine, walked five and had a 3.55 earned run average.
Regular season Minor League play will continue until Labor Day before the playoffs begin.