Astros' future on display in St. Louis
Catcher Castro to play for U.S., reliever Lo for World team
Jason Castro's quick ascent through the Astros' farm system has many in the organization believing he could be ready for the Major Leagues at the start of next season. In other words, the catcher's right on schedule.
Castro, the club's No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Stanford, is one of two Houston representatives in the XM All-Star Futures Game. Castro, who will play for the U.S. team, hit .309 with seven homers and 44 RBIs at high-Class A Lancaster before getting promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi in early June. He certainly hasn't slowed down with the Hooks, hitting .326 in his first 12 games.
The 11th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, pitting the best Minor League prospects from the United States against the best from the rest of the World, will be held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on All-Star Sunday, July 12, at 1 p.m. CT. MLB.com will provide complete coverage before, during and after the game, which can be seen live on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on Gameday.
Castro had a .399 on-base percentage with a .517 slugging percentage at Lancaster. Those numbers dipped somewhat early at Corpus Christi, but his batting average went up. Through 12 games, he had a .360 on-base percentage and a .413 slugging percentage with the Hooks.
The Astros drafted Castro with hopes he could take over as the starter in the Majors next year, and invited him to Major League Spring Training this year, where he impressed the coaching staff with his work ethic. Castro will likely come to spring next year competing for the starting spot -- a position he could hold for a long time.
Corpus Christi right-hander Chia-Jen Lo will participate in the Futures Game for the World team. Lo, the first Taiwanese player signed by the Astros, was a staple on several of his country's national teams, appearing for Taiwan in the 2008 Olympics, before signing with Houston prior to this season.
Lo, 23, was assigned to Lancaster, where he was terrific in relief. He appeared in 12 games and struck out 36 batters in 25 1/3 innings, posting a 1.78 ERA. In his first seven games at Double-A Corpus Christi, he's pitched seven scoreless innings in seven outings.
Lo has the stuff to perhaps be the Astros' closer of the future with a fastball clocked around 95 mph.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.