It takes a lot to impress Shania Twain. What New York Mets relief pitcher Miguel Castro did in 2021 surely dazzled her. I mean, if she even knows who he or the Mets are.
Castro joined the club in 2020 through a trade with the Baltimore Orioles. A not-so-memorable 9 innings and a 4.00 ERA made it “fill” for the 2021 squad, or so I thought.
It was not at all the case. Castro pitched more innings than any other reliever in the past year, totaling 70.1 frames. He didn’t just eat outside. Castro was efficient, going 3-4 with a 3.45 ERA. He was one of Luis Rojas’ best options to turn to. As productive as he is, Castro could benefit from a reduced role in 2022.
I’m not opposed to the idea of Castro throwing big innings for the Mets this coming season. He can, but he shouldn’t be one of the first options. Castro fits better as a bridge in the sixth round. A role he has had for the club often in 2021, it’s not the worst thing to see him come into games when the squad are late rather than early.
The Mets can accomplish this quite simply. It starts with building a stronger reliever box where, on the other hand, Castro is a lesser part of the team’s plans.
By adding better relievers at the end of the inning, Castro’s role will automatically be reduced. He goes from being the manager’s pet to a guy whose job it is to keep the game from getting out of hand rather than maintaining a lead.
Everything is easier said than done. Building a solid enclosure is no easy task. There are a lot of riddles.
As the 2021 season wore on, we saw Castro take on something that was more like the gig I wanted for him. On June 11, he got his sixth catch of the season. He would only have three more all year. We can blame the collapse of the team in the second half as one of the reasons for this.
Castro may have an important role for the 2022 Mets. But let’s face it. Wild at times (5.5 steps out of nine last season), there is still a work in progress. Castro is expected to enter next season as a forward reliever. And if he does it again, maybe then we can talk about bigger frames and more leverage.
Imagine how impressed the country pop queen would be.