The first time we had the opportunity to talk with Dodgers‘ infield prospect Tim Locastro right around Christmas of last year, he was coming off a season where he hit a combined .285/.341/.389 for High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa, mainly splitting his time defensively between shortstop and second base.
Seven months later, a lot has changed. He has now become a household name at the Triple-A level, and based on his current rate of production, will probably never look back. Since his most recent promotion to Oklahoma City, the 25-year-old New York native has produced a phenomenal slash line of .389/.451/.569 over 72 AB, and has opened the eyes of the entire Los Angeles coaching staff in the process.
Ask any one of his teammates at any level, and they’re likely to tell you that he’s close to being the single hardest worker on the entire squad. Hands down.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that he’s played a whopping 53 games in the outfield this season, an aspect of his versatility that’s sure to boost his big league consideration at some point down the road.
After Thursday evening’s 4-3 victory over the Storm Chasers in Omaha, Locastro was kind enough to take several minutes from his busy schedule to talk about a few things that happened between our initial conversation last year and his present run of success at OKC.
Straight away, we asked Tim if there was one certain aspect of his game for which he credits his most recent string of success. He reiterated his main philosophy of trying to get on base by any means possible, coupled with the idea of keeping things simple in the batter’s box, rather than overthinking.
“No, not really. I’m just trying to hit the ball hard and help our team win right now as we’re in the middle of a playoff race,” he explained. “I believe that not overthinking and just keeping things simple in the batters box has been very beneficial.”
Another number that jumps out from Locastro’s stat line is the overwhelming number of bases he has swiped this season. Since arriving in OKC, he has already stolen 10 bags, giving him 32 for the year between both levels. He’s only nine away from his career-high of 41 steals, a personal record he set in 2015 between the time he spent at Low-A Lansing and High-A Rancho after he was acquired by the Dodgers from the Blue Jays.
And there’s no question at all that his speed and quickness have made his transition to the outfield an easy one.
“I played outfield a handful of times last year, but this year I’ve been able to play out there quite a bit,” Locastro said. “It adds versatility to me as a player. I love it in the outfield—I feel like a wide receiver in football going and tracking down the balls. You can definitely use your speed and athleticism a little more in the outfield.”
Intrigued by the talent level difference between Double-A and Triple-A, we discussed a few theories about how much better the players of the Pacific Coast League are compared to the players in the pitcher-friendly confines of the Texas League.
“The biggest difference is that most pitchers have better command of all their pitches,” Locastro said. “However, it’s funny, because you face a lot the pitchers you faced in AA earlier in the season. Defensively, it’s a lot smoother and faster—not as many errors are made.”
If the skill level at Triple-A is indeed more advanced, there hasn’t been any sort of hiccup in Locastro’s game. Even more admirable is the fact that he’s excelled at multiple positions on the diamond without seeing any ill effects on offense or defense.
As far as his personal goals go, over the winter Locastro told us that his aim each season is to move up one entire level before the end of each year. Deservedly, his hard work has paid off early in 2017, as he has already become a mainstay atop the OKC batting order, and his time as a Driller has already become a distant memory.
And based on the determination, ability and incredible work ethic he’s shown at Triple-A so far, there’s very little doubt he’ll make his big league debut by the end of the year in 2018, if not much sooner.
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