The Atlanta Braves have been belting home runs at a record pace this season, and it seems one of their farm hands is trying to keep pace. Former Bradley Central stand-out Ryan Casteel is the leading home run hitter for the Mississippi Braves this season.
Casteel might be finding his groove after nearly a decade in the minors.
After seven minor league seasons with Colorado and one with Seattle, Ryan Casteel spent last year playing Independent league baseball. Maybe that was an awakening. Since signing with the Braves and joining Mississppi, Casteel is now tied for third in the Southern League this season with 16 home runs.
Said Casteel:”Every off season I go home, I am preparing for a year like this. I mean it has went better than planned. I think as an athlete if you come in expecting just to do okay, you’re selling yourself short.”
Casteel is now 28 years old, which is no spring chicken in the minors.
Said Casteel:”It’s good being the old guy. I remember when I was young having those guys to just kind of watch how they went about their business. Every day it keeps me accountable to lead by example and just be ready to play every day.”
Casteel came up through the minors as a catcher, but he’s playing first base for the M-Braves. Last month, he hit three home runs in one game against Pensacola becoming the first Mississippi player to accomplish that feat.
If Casteel keeps swinging a hot bat, he might realize his ultimate dream.
Casteel:”The goal hasn’t changed to get to the big leagues. My journey is different from a lot of guys, but everybody’s story is different. So every day I’m working to get to the big leagues. In the process I’m trying to just lead by example and be a good teammate. Just do what I can to help this ball club.”