Prospects Chat: Jason Castro

    Mark (Chicago): What areas of your game do you
    think you need to work on the most before you are ready to take the
    next step to the major leagues?

Jason Castro: For the most part I feel that I just
need to continue to get repetitions behind the plate this spring and
continue to refine the subtleties of catching. In addition, continuing
to gain the trust and build working relationships with the pitching
staff in order to work more efficiently on the field.

    Mark (Chicago): What do you feel you need to do in spring training to win the starting catching job for Houston?

Jason Castro: Similarly to the previous question just
continuing to get comfortable behind the plate this spring, working
with the pitchers and getting to know each one of their games, and
continuing to make adjustments at the plate to put myself in the best
place to have success.

    Mark (Chicago): What is the strongest aspect of your game? What is the weakest?

Jason Castro: I have put in a lot of work this past
year and offseason to really round out my game offensively and
defensively. I have made some big strides to polish my skills behind
the plate (blocking, receiving, calling a game) while continuing to
adjust offensively to the levels of competition I have come up against
in the recent past.

    Brian Juhl (Basic Training): What is your
    favorite tee drill? Is it the one I taught you at Stanford? if so,
    would you reveal the secret to the rest of the baseball fans out there?

Jason Castro: I hope everything is going well in basic
training and as far as tee drills go i like to do a lot of one hand
swings off the tee and really focus on making solid contact with the
BALL up the middle and not the tee.

    Jacob W (Tacoma, WA): Do you think you have the opportunity to win the starting job from J.R. Towles heading into this spring training?

Jason Castro: Having had the opportunity to be a part
of major league spring training last season has helped put me in a good
situation coming into this spring. I am more accustomed to how
everything works and I can now really just focus on playing ball. I am
going to do everything that I can do to put myself in the best position
once camp ends and hopefully i have some success and am ready and able
for whatever is to come.

    JM Blakely (Kennesaw, Georgia): Jason, how
    long do you think it will take the Astros to get back in the hunt for
    the playoffs and when will you be a starter in the show? Is this your

Jason Castro: This offseason was a good one for the
Astros as we were able to make some important acquisitions to
strengthen not only the pitching staff but the line up as well. If
everything happens the way it should I feel that this is the year to
make it back in the hunt for the playoffs. I am continuing to put in
work this spring and hopefully am able to make a strong push for that
position once camp is over.

    mitch (wisconsin): what kind of bat are you swinging and why?

Jason Castro: I have been back and forth between a few
different models but this year I am swinging Marucci TH-17 bats. The
hardness, durability and balance of the bats are what lead me to
choosing them this year.

    Steve (Tennessee): Moving so quickly through
    the Astros' system means you have gotten to catch a fair number of
    their pitchers. Give us 2 or 3 names of guys whose stuff or makeup
    really impressed you.

Jason Castro: A few guys who i’ve had the opportunity
to catch who have a combination of good stuff and makeup this past year
are Chris Hicks (Lancaster) Danny Meszaros (Corpus Christi) and
Chia-Jen Lo (Lancaster/Corpus Christi) . They all had solid years last
year and continued to get better as the year went on.

    tommy (san ramon): How much extra work and hitting did you do outside of working out with your own teams growing up?

Jason Castro: I did quite a bit of extra work aside
from team practices. I was fortunate enough that my Dad throws a pretty
good BP so I was able to hit a lot on the side (after practice/on the
weekends) growing up.

    este (chapel hill, nc): who's the filthiest
    pitcher you've ever hit off of? the filthiest pitcher you've ever
    caught? and the best player you've played against?

Jason Castro: This one is a hard question to answer as
i’ve had the opportunity to play against some pretty good competition
of the past few years. I would have to say that even as a college
pitcher Tim Lincecum was a pretty tough guy to face for obvious reasons.

    Joshua B. (Syracuse, NY): Jason, in your own estimation, how many homeruns do you think you could hit in a full mlb season?

Jason Castro: I have been working hard the past few
seasons at being able to hit for more power and have had some success.
I think as I continue to get stronger with age and with continued work
i can see myself being able to add some more power to my game as well
as the ability to hit for a good average.

    Andrew (Middlebury, VT): Big Cardinal Fan.
    What do you miss most about the program and what are your thoughts on
    how they will be this year? Certainly off to a good start.

Jason Castro: For me what i miss most at Stanford was
that it was a great place to play and during my time there had a great
group of guys on the team. From what i know of the guys still on the
team from when i was there and the group of younger guys they have now
they should have a real good team this year and i think its already
showed in their first series this past weekend against Rice.

    Billy Bridges (Southaven, MS): Hey Jason. Did you take lessons as a kid and if you didn't, do you think it is important to do so?

Jason Castro: I took a few lessons but for the most
part just played. I was fortunate enough to have some people very close
to me who have been around the game for a long time and could teach me
from an early age. I think i was able to benefit from this and really
just played as much as i could and got better from all the repetitions.
I think they are important though in order to establish fundamental
skills and learn the correct/most efficient ways of doing things.

    andy (new jersey): what are your goals this year as you break into the majors? who did you try to base your game on as you were growing up?

Jason Castro: This year my goals are to continue to
improve myself as an all around player and if given the opportunity at
any point to establish myself as a solid major league catcher. Growing
up I watched guys like Ivan Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, guys who could
not only catch but be solid offensive players as well.

    Farmstros (Hiding in Bobby Heck's Office): Who was most influential in your development as a catcher?

Jason Castro: I think that my development in the past
year and a half has greatly increased ever since I signed with the
Astros. Catching coordinator with the Astros Danny Sheaffer has helped
me quite a bit since i signed and given me a lot of advice to get where
i am today.

    Anthony (Phoenix): Jason, hope to see you here
    in Phoenix when y'all come to play the Dbacks. Wandy doesn't have the
    same repertoire as say, Bud Norris or Brett Myers. With the variety of
    pitchers on the staff, what are you doing to prepare yourself for the
    season based on the pitchers abilities? Good luck this season!

Jason Castro: Getting the opportunity to catch these
guys in spring training gives me the ability to get to know each
pitcher on an individual basis. Everyone is different and learning the
strengths and favorites of each one is something that can be used in to
best prepare for game situations.

    Justin (DC): How does it feel to be the #41 and #61 best prospect in baseball?

Jason Castro: It is an honor and i am grateful for being selected in the top 100.

    Jim (Castro Valley, CA): Do you feel college baseball prepared you for pro ball rather than going pro from high school?

Jason Castro: Absolutely. I feel that the 3 years I
spent at Stanford gave me a chance to not only physically mature but
mentally as well. Going to college, for me, put me in the best place to
succeed once entering professional baseball.

    John (Niceville, FL): What's your favorite baseball movie?

Jason Castro: Favorite baseball movie would have to be Major League.

    Desi (Chicago): What's your take on signing
    autographs? As a long time collector, I've seen young prospects turn
    down a lot of requests simply because of eBay or other contract deals.
    Just curious what your view is on signing autographs.

Jason Castro: I try to sign autographs whenever i can especially for fans who make it out to the games and watch us play.

    Adam H. (New York): Is there anything you want to do differently at Spring Training this year after experiencing it for the first time in 2009?

Jason Castro: Just continue to build off of everything
that i learned from last year’s spring training. Getting my work in and
getting prepared for the upcoming season as best as i can. Having been
here last year has given me the comfortability to just focus on the
baseball side of things and not really having to worry about anything

    Jordan (Atlanta, GA): What advice would you give to high school catchers looking to take their game to the next level?

Jason Castro: I would say to do as many catching
drills as you can working on receiving the ball, blocking, and throwing
to the bases. The only way to get better is lots of repetitions and
building muscle memory.

    Chuck (Longview, TX): Can you describe the "vibe" of the Astros this spring. Last year seemed tense. What's it like this year?

Jason Castro: There is a lot of energy this year and
everyone is putting in a lot of work already to get ready for the
season but at the same time everyone is having fun and enjoying the

    Chuck (Longview, TX): What are the biggest adjustments you've had to make in your pro career so far?

Jason Castro: The biggest adjustments have been
learning how to deal with catching every day. The level of competition
is has been very good and being able to adapt quickly and make
adjustments is something i learned early on in my pro career.

    Steve (Boston): What was your experience like playing on the Cape a few years ago?

Jason Castro: It was a great experience being able to
be a part of such an historic league. We had a great group of guys that
made it fun to play everyday and being able to spend the summer on the
cape wasn’t too bad either.

    Chuck (Longview, TX): Knowing that the Astros
    front office has you on the fast track to the majors, what have you
    done this off season to prepare to be the possible opening day catcher?

Jason Castro: I have put in a lot of work in the gym
this offseason getting my body prepared to play a full season. I also
have continued to work on all aspects of my game, catching and hitting,
doing a variety of drills for most of the offseason.

    Brent (Kansas): Playing with Brent Milleville
    at Stanford did you learn anything interesting that Johnny Bench did in
    his playing days? More importantly, do you do that now?

Jason Castro: I was able to learn a lot of interesting things and I do a modified personalized version of that now.