The 2017 season saw a handful of top prospects in the Dodgers organization merit promotions to the majors, most specifically when the player roster expanded in early September. Names such as Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo and Kyle Farmer were the headliners, and deservedly earned opportunities to showcase their skills in front of the big league management crew and millions of fans. However, there’s one particular prospect, utility man Tim Locastro, who may have a better shot at making the upcoming 25-man major league roster more than any of the other youngsters.
In 127 combined games with Triple-A Oklahoma City and Double-A Tulsa last year, the 25-year-old Locastro posted an impressive .308/.383/.454 slash line with 31 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 40 RBI and 34 stolen bases. He split time between the infield and the outfield over the course of 2017, playing 47 games in center field, 46 games at second base, 31 games at shortstop, nine games in left field and two games in right field.
The Auburn, New York native spent the majority of the season with the Drillers, hitting .285 with 69 runs scored, 21 doubles, four triples, eight home runs, 31 RBI and 22 stolen bases over 96 games. The right-handed hitting speedster, who was selected to the Texas League Mid-Season All-Star team, finished the year among the league leaders in stolen bases, triples, OPS, on-base percentage, runs scored and batting average. Over two stints and 31 games with OKC, he hit .388 with 18 runs, 10 doubles, two homers, nine RBI and 12 stolen bases, along with a .987 OPS.
His 2017 season was culminated by a surprise promotion to the big league squad during the final days of the regular season, when he made three appearances, primarily as a pinch-runner. The major league management crew was so impressed with the skills Locastro brought to the table, that he was considered for a spot on the post-season roster.
A few days after the new year, Tim was kind enough to sit down with us and chat about last season, and shared a few thoughts about 2018 spring training and his upcoming campaign. Straightaway, we asked him how he felt immediately after receiving the news of his first big league promotion.
“Completely shocked,” Locastro explained. “I think the craziest part about everything was that I was home in Auburn for three weeks thinking I was in the beginning of my offseason. Next thing you know, I got called to meet team in Colorado, so then I geared it back up and was ready to play.”
While his time with the Dodgers was certainly enjoyable from the standpoint of reveling in the big league atmosphere, Locastro said the most important thing was using his new experience as a tool to benefit him down the road.
“It was such a great experience not only for myself but for my family, my girlfriend and my friends who were able to come out to Colorado to enjoy it with me,” he said. “It was nice to get my feet wet at the end of the year, but now this season I’m looking to build off it and hopefully be able to help the Dodgers win some games.”
As far as his offseason training regimen goes, Locastro told us he’s not doing anything different this winter than what he’s done in prior years.
“I’m trying to keep everything very similar to previous years with just a few tweaks. Workout and training wise, I’m with the same trainer doing the same work out routine I’ve been doing for the past three offseasons, and I’m doing all my baseball activities in the same locations with the same people,” Locastro stated. “I don’t want to change what has worked in the past and helped get me to where I am today. Its like the ole cliche ‘if its not broke, don’t fix it.'”
Conceivably, there may be a chance Locastro makes the Dodgers’ upcoming 25-man roster right out of spring camp, depending on whether or not management decides to make any outside additions in terms of player personnel. We’ve already discussed a potential need for a left-handed hitting infielder, however, based on his ability to handle the outfield and both middle infield spots, Locastro may be one of several final candidates considered for a utility role, despite being a right-handed hitter.
Whatever the outcome may be, Locastro said he’s prepared to help the Dodgers in whatever capacity the team needs.
“I don’t really think about the 25-man roster. Right now, I’m just thinking about being ready to go both physically and mentally once spring training starts. I’m extremely excited to get to camp and get the season underway. That’s when all the fun begins.”
(Follow Tim Locastro on Twitter: @TimmyLo11)