June 17, 2008


Castro Clutch as Cardinal Catcher

Junior backstop sparkles on offense and defense


By Ben Trittipoe



OMAHA, Neb. – Stanford’s Jason Castro is deadly to Cardinal opponents, whether it’s on offense or defense.


The junior catcher was the 10th overall selection by the Houston Astros in the recent MLB First-Year Player Draft. Here are a couple of reasons why – Castro is 3 for 9 with a double, a home run and three runs batted in during the first two games of the 2008 College World Series, and he has thrown out all three would-be basestealers and picked off another runner.


Castro was at his best Monday night as Stanford narrowly lost to Georgia, 4-3, in Game 6 of the CWS. He singled in his first at bat and then capped a three-run Cardinal third inning – giving them a 3-0 lead at the time – with a two-run homer, his 14th of the year.


“I wasn’t surprised” Georgia did not walk him in that situation, Castro said. “Georgia does a good job of attacking hitters. [Bulldogs starter Nick Montgomery] beat me early with two fastballs, and I had in my mind that he might try to come in on me. He left it over the plate, and I was able to get my hands out and hit it.”


Meanwhile, he wasn’t slacking off on defense. In the top of the first, Castro threw out Georgia leadoff man Ryan Peisel trying to steal second base to complete a “strike ’em out, throw ’em out” double play. Later, in the fifth, he easily retired Bulldog David Thoms as he attempted to steal second.


“I have always loved catching,” Castro said. “I enjoy the chance to throw out runners and work with pitchers. But I also enjoy the hitting side. Right now, I think I enjoy both about the same.”


A finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the top catcher in the nation each year, Castro currently leads Stanford with a .379 batting average and 72 runs batted in, and he ranks second on the team in home runs. He also has thrown out 39 percent (31 of 79) of runners attempting to steal.


“He’s having a great tournament and he’s had a great year for us,” Stanford head coach Mark Marquess said. “He leads us in average and RBI, so that’s not a surprise. He’s played that way all year for us.”