Castro homers three times on perfect day

Braves prospect finishes 5-for-5, plates eight as Fire Frogs DH

Carlos Castro is hitting .345 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 30 games for the Fire Frogs. (Bill Setliff/

By Danny Wild / | May 10, 2017 3:40 PM

Carlos Castro has had a week to remember, and it's only Wednesday.

The Braves' first baseman homered three times and knocked in eight runs on a 5-for-5 afternoon -- all career highs -- to help Class A Advanced Florida rout Daytona, 14-2, at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

"I'm very, very happy with the way things happened, and just happy the team won the game," Castro said through an interpreter, hitting coach Carlos Mendez. "Hopefully I can keep going. It's a long season."

It was a long day, meanwhile, for Daytona pitchers. Castro, a 22-year-old first baseman from the Dominican Republic, hit a two-run homer in the second inning, swatted another two-run shot in the third and delivered a three-run drive in the fifth. He added an RBI single in the sixth and led off the eighth with another base hit.

The first two homers came off Tortugas starter Jesus Reyes (3-1) before Juan Martinez surrendered the three-run shot and Castro's run-scoring single. Braulio Ortiz didn't have the answer either, allowing Castro's final hit.

"It was just one of those days where I didn't chase breaking balls early and they made mistakes," said Castro, who batted sixth and played DH. "The first guy hung a slider 0-2. The last one was a first-pitch changeup. I was just seeing the ball really clearly. I was lucky they made mistakes."

Mendez agreed, praising Castro for reacting to whatever was thrown his way.

"He's ready to attack pitchers and he hits mistake pitches really well," Mendez said. "They make a mistake and he's ready to hit them. That's part of the learning process -- he stays ready to hit every pitch."

Box score

Castro's three homers represent about 17 percent of his total output from last year, when he hit .266 with 17 long balls and 57 RBIs in 84 games with Class A Rome. The infielder hit just three homers total from 2014-15.

You don't have to look too far back to find Castro's last big game -- he hit a grand slam and drove in five runs May 3 at Palm Beach. The recent success, he said, has helped.

"It definitely helps my confidence," he said. "They're not pitching around me, but I wasn't chasing pitches early in the count. I try to stay aggressive at the plate and make solid contact every time I swing the bat."

Castro had a pair of two-homer games last season on June 17 and 30. His previous career high in RBIs for a game was six, which he managed on July 8, 2014 with the Rookie-level DSL Braves.

2017 Minor League milestones

After Wednesday's outburst, Castro is hitting .345 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 30 games.

"I was relaxed," Castro said. "I stayed with an approach up the middle and if they made a mistake, I made solid contact and it worked out well."

Mendez watched his lineup pound out 17 hits and help the Fire Frogs (17-17) return to .500. Austin Riley doubled and singled, scoring three runs in the win, and Alex Jackson added two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI. Leadoff man Anfernee Seymour chipped in three singles and an RBI.

Frogs starter Drew Harrington (4-2) allowed a pair of unearned runs on six hits and two walks over five innings for the win. Reyes was charged with eight runs -- six earned -- on eight hits and three walks to take his first loss for the Reds affiliate.

Mendez said it was a happy dugout and clubhouse after Castro's big day.

"Everyone was giving him a hard time for that," Mendez said. "He's a happy guy, we're a happy bunch, and we're happy we won the game and the series."

Danny Wild is an editor for Follow his MLBlog column, Minoring in Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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