MLB: Three surprising bullpen arms dominating early in 2020

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 08: Members of the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen look on during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park on August 08, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 08: Members of the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen look on during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park on August 08, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Is Miguel Castro finally developing into a reliable MLB bullpen piece for the Baltimore Orioles?

Anyone who has watched Baltimore Orioles baseball over the last few years knows the fear, sadness, anger, and depression that all flood your soul when an Orioles pitcher climbs the rubber, especially an arm out of the bullpen.

However, it’s been a bit of a different story in 2020. Projected to be in a fight for the top overall draft pick yet again, the Orioles are currently 7-7 and have one of the top bullpens in the majors.

One of the more impressive stories out of this bullpen has been a 25-year-old reliever, Miguel Castro. Standing at 6-7 and 205 pounds, Castro has walked between 10-13% of hitters he’s faced in each of the last three seasons and owns a FIP close to 5.00 in his Orioles career. Despite the electric stuff, Castro’s inability to keep runners off base has been frustrating.

Castro has appeared in seven games this season for Baltimore, allowing zero runs on four hits, striking out 10 and walking just two batters. He is currently tied for second among major league relievers with a 0.4 fWAR.

There’s still been a bit of breath holding when Castro is on the mound, but he’s producing a 62.5% groundball rate, striking out 36% of hitters he’s faced, and utilizing a 98 mph sinker and 92.3 mph changeup to get hitters out.

Don’t overlook his slider, though. Castro has yet to allow a hit off his slider (second most used pitch at 35%) and he’s produced a 46% whiff rate with the pitch.

It’s still early to say whether or not Miguel Castro is developing into that reliable reliever fans have been waiting more than three years for, but there’s no denying that he’s off to a very impressive start. Keeping up his production as the Orioles navigate their way through their AL and NL East schedule this year will be tough, but something to watch closely as the season progresses.