For the third time in less than a year, a local professional baseball player has been named to a league all-star team.
Ryan Casteel is in Little Rock, Ark., today, getting ready to play in the Texas League All-Star Game, just seven months after playing in the Australian Baseball League All-Star Game and 10 months after being named to the California League postseason All-Star squad as Catcher of the Year.
“It’s an honor to get voted in. I’m happy to represent the (Colorado) Rockies organization and the (Tulsa) Drillers in the game,” he stated by text Monday evening while at the All-Star banquet, where former major leaguer Bill Buckner was the special guest speaker.
“From here I just have to continue to improve and finish strong on the season. I’m truly blessed,” Casteel added.
Leading the first-half division winner Tulsa Drillers in both home runs (9) and runs batted in (35), Casteel is in the Top 15 in the Double-A league in eight offensive categories. He is in the Top 3 among league catchers in nine categories.
Playing first base and sometimes being used as the designated hitter, Casteel has played in 60 games so far this season, rapping 65 hits, including 13 doubles, a triple and nine home runs. Along with being tops among league catchers in hits, homers and “ribbies,” he also leads the group with 107 total bases.
He is second among signal callers in slugging percentage (.455) and OPS (.778), plus third in doubles, on base percentage (.323) and batting average (.277). He also has 15 bases on balls and is 1-for-2 in stolen base attempts this season.
Being named as the Texas League Player of the Week earlier this month, Casteel has continued to swing a hot bat with a current 10-game hitting streak, which includes 13 safeties, a half dozen of which have gone for extra bases.
After claiming the first-half division title with a 38-31 record, Tulsa has split its first six games of the second half, as have the other three teams in the North Division. Tonight’s all-star game will have nine Drillers on the North Division’s squad.
Selected by the Rockies in the 17th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Cleveland State, Casteel has played in 338 minor league games, posting a .278 batting average, with 354 hits, 92 doubles, 10 triples, 37 home runs and 191 RBIs.
In 45 games this past winter playing for the Melbourne Aces, Casteel led the Australian league in home runs (11), batting average (.343), slugging percentage (.614) and OPS (1.020). He was also second in total bases (102), RBIs (36) and hits (tied with 57), plus third in on base percentage (.405).
Casteel also was among the top 15 in the league in doubles (10), runs scored (23) and walks (17).