A Learning Experience: Ryan Castellani Has Received On-The-Job Training

Tracy Ringolsby

Ryan Castellani's summer began in limbo. He was in Denver, but working out at Metro State, a part of the Rockies taxi squad. When Chi Chi Gonzalez came out of his first start of the season and went on the injured list, Castellani received a sudden call to he big leagues.

It's been an eye-opening experience for Castellani, who the past off-season was ranked the seventh-best prospect in the Rockies system, second-best pitcher behind 2018 first-round draft pick Ryan Rolison.

He has had his impressive moments -- one run in 8 2/3 innings of his first two starts, allowing only two hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts in the process.

He has had his learning experiences -- three starts of allowing five or more runs, including an eight-run, seven earned runs, 4 1/3-inning effort in what became a 15-6 loss to the Dodgers at Coors Field last Saturday.

After walking only eight batters in 25 1/3 innings of his first six big-league appearances (five starts and a relief appearance), he has issued 13 walks in 14 1/3 innings the last three starts.

"There is less chasing (pitches) than in the minor leagues. And I need to go at hitters with my strength and be more aggressive in the zone," he said of his adjustment from the minor leagues. "The big thing I have learned is the chase rate as well as pitch usage.

"I am using off-speed (pitches) so much more than I ever have. In the minors I was probably 65 to 75 percent fastball. Now I'm about 50 percent fastball."

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