Castro has potential to start next season

July 19th, 2017

BALTIMORE -- Current reliever has caught Orioles manager Buck Showalter's eye as a potential starter for next season.

Throughout his time in the Majors, Castro has been strictly working out of the bullpen. But, the righty began his Minor League career as a starter, which bodes well for an easier transition to the starting role. In his 16 relief appearances for the Orioles this year entering Wednesday, Castro had posted a 3.32 ERA through 21 2/3 innings. In Tuesday night's 12-1 win against the Rangers, the righty threw two innings of no-hit baseball.

"I'll tell you what's fun to watch is watching Castro," Showalter said. "He's pitching those two innings like it's the seventh game of the World Series. I can't tell you how big it is to not have to get somebody else up. I wouldn't take it out of the realm of him starting depending how the changeup progresses. He's got a pretty good changeup. That was the pitch when they brought him to the big leagues very quickly out of A ball, that was one of his out pitches."

Castro made 35 starts from the beginning of his Minor League career in 2012 until May 29, 2015, for Toronto's Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. Since joining the Orioles' farm system in April, Castro has worked out of the bullpen in Double-A Bowie, but has proved to be able to provide some depth. Of his six appearances, the righty has gone for at least four innings in five of his outings.

"He's up to four or five innings in Bowie, that's one of the reasons why we like him," Showalter said. "He's a sharp kid. He's smart. He's a watcher of the game. He watches in between innings in the dugout. He sees every pitch. If you go out there and ask him about a situation the next day that occurred in the game, he'll know exactly what's going on. He's engaged. That bodes well for him."

With the quest to find a solution for his starting rotation, Showalter has expressed the importance of keeping some of the Orioles' top prospects in the starting role, including the O's No. 10 prospect Tanner Scott and the team's No. 14 prospect , according to MLB Pipeline.

"[Castro] and Liranzo now and also Tanner Scott. It's a nice little program. Kind of lets us go either way and gets their inning count up," Showalter said. "They're trying to get that third pitch there because we are so quick to pigeon-hole these guys to relievers. Why isn't Tanner Scott potentially a starter? Why isn't Liranzo potentially a starter? Just because they have a plus-plus fastball and a plus breaking ball and they haven't grasped a changeup yet, we are just going to say, 'Heck with it' and stick them down in the bullpen? I'm sure you all have noticed, there's a need for starting pitching in the big leagues and a few other places."

Worth noting

The Orioles' No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, Hunter Harvey played in his first competitive games since undergoing Tommy John surgery last July in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Showalter said that Harvey has been pitching since November to be able to pitch competitively again, and pitching in this upcoming fall league season is out of the question. Showalter said the most important thing for Harvey is to have a normal offseason.

"Harvey had a good day today. 27 pitches, one inning, felt great, velocity was really good," Showalter said. "He's not going to be a candidate to make our club next year. I know he has the potential to make a lot of people ask that question."

, who is on the 60-day disabled list for right shoulder tendinitis, could be starting his rehab assignment next week, Showalter said. Flaherty had a successful throwing day on Tuesday and is scheduled to do strength exercises on Wednesday.