We continue our review of the Brewers’ top prospects on they faired during the 2021 Minor League Baseball season in either their first season of professional baseball or how they bounced back after having a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Next up, is a guy we could see as early as this season, right-handed, starting pitcher, Victor Castaneda.
Here is our review of the 2021 season for one of the Brewers’ top prospects, Victor Castaneda
Brewers Prospects Review: RHP Victor Castaneda
The 6’1″, 185-pound right-handed pitcher, Victor Castaneda, was signed out of the Mexican League at the age of 18, in the summer of 2017. The Brewers signed him as a relief pitcher and at the time of the signing, he had just begun his season with Toros De Tijuana where he was already off to a hot start, appearing in nine games, starting in four of them, with a total of 24 innings pitched. He finished his short stint with a 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, all the while striking out 17.
Since his signing with the Brewers, Castaneda has struggled with a below-average WHIP and not the prettiest ERA. Before the pandemic hit the world, Castaneda was gearing up for his third season of professional baseball, where he had just finished the 2019 season with a 4.50 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 32 games.
Castaneda played the entire 2019 Minor League Baseball season with the Brewers High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Most bullpen pitchers, don’t see a whole lot of innings resulting in bad numbers if they have a few bad outings, and this was the case for the Brewers right-hander as he finished the 2019 season with a 9.00 H/9, and a 2.86 BB/9. However, a high for him during the season was finishing with a 10.84 K/9.
There was no one more ready for the bounce-back season than Castaneda, as there were a lot of changes to be made. He showed up and impressed a lot of people during the Arizona Fall League, following the conclusion of the High-A season. He pitched an impressive 1.99 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 22 and 2/3 innings.
After a frustrating Minor League Season, and an impressive fall ball season, Castaneda was ready to have a breakout season in 2020, until the world came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic.
Following a long year off of baseball, Castenada had switched to a new role, starting pitching, where he pitched the entire 2021 season in High-A. During the season he started 20 games for the Timber Rattlers, where he even had a complete game. During the 97 innings that he had pitched, he struck out 114 batters and gave up 18 bombs along with only walking 37 batters.
Although the numbers don’t look pretty he had a couple of high points throughout the season as he was named the High-A Central Pitcher of the Week for the last week in May. Another thing we can all be excited about is his 10.82 K/9.
Castaneda played the entire season for the Timber Rattlers, then during the last week of the season, he was assigned to the Brewers Triple-A club, Nashville Sounds. He didn’t get a whole lot of time with the Sounds, however, it was nice to see him get a couple of starts with the club. In his three appearances with the team, he finished with a 2.25 ERA during 12 innings of work. He also asserted his dominance by striking out 17 during his time.
It’ll be interesting to see where the Brewers assign him once the minor league season gets underway. If the Brewers keep him in Triple-A to start the season and he does what he builds off of his 2021 campaign, then I don’t see why he wouldn’t finish the season with the Sounds. I can also see him being dropped down to the Double-A club if he struggles heavily in Triple-A, which then you’ll still see him come up to Triple-A to end the season.
Castaneda’s profile on MLB.com talks about some of his promising pitch selections, as well as talking about some of the possible downfalls of them:
"“He shows average velocity with a fastball around 92-94 mph that can run inside to fellow right-handers. He’ll showcase both a changeup and a splitter, but the latter is his best pitch, offspeed or not. The splitter drops off the table has led many hitters to swing right over it and have helped him generate similar K rates to both righties and lefties. He’ll also mix in the occasional curveball to give batters a breaking look, but it’s far from a weapon, compared to the splitter.”"
MLB.com has Castaneda projected to join the Brewers in 2023. This is still a stretch as the Brewers have a surplus of pitching prospects to choose from. If the Brewers become riddled with injuries, there’s a slight possibility we could see him come out of the bullpen down the stretch in October.
As the talks to end the MLB lockout are near, stay tuned to hear more about how the Brewers’ top prospects fared in either their first season of professional ball or how they bounced back due to having a season off.