27 Outs Baseball Network

Dodgers Promote Tim Locastro to Oklahoma City

Photos by Tony Capobianco

Los Angeles Dodgers infield prospect Tim Locastro earned a second promotion to the Triple-A level after Oklahoma City second baseman Willie Calhoun was traded to the Texas Rangers for Yu Darvish at the MLB Trade Deadline. Locastro looks to finish the regular season in Oklahoma City after leading the Tulsa Drillers in runs (69) and stolen bases (22) while sporting a .366 on-base percentage and a low strikeout rate, by today’s standards.

Locastro went 4-for-13 in his first week at Oklahoma City. He is a natural at shortstop and second base but has seen time in all three outfield positions under the Dodgers’ mentorship, in a sense trying to groom him to be the next Kiké Hernandez.

He sure has the spunk for it, which was forged during his college days at Ithica. During his junior year, Locastro led the Liberty League in hit by pitches while the Bombers went all the way to the Division lll Championship Series. He was always one to crowd the plate as a hitter, which resulted in 29 bean balls. Those only hardened the scrappy Locastro and prepared him for a career in professional baseball as a table setter at the top of the lineup.

Quite fitting for a guy who looked up to former New York Yankees great Paul O’Neil as an idol to emulate. He was nicknamed “the Warrior” by the late George Steinbrenner after all.

Growing up in upstate NewYork, it made more sense to travel to Toronto to see O’Neil and his beloved Yankees take on the Blue Jays. There he was able to meet his baseball hero and take a photo with him, a moment he remembers to this day.

The Blue Jays selected Locastro in the 13th round of the 2013 MLB Draft after his junior season, forgoing his senior year, which he admitted was a very tough decision for him because of the many friendships he had with his college teammates in Ithaca.

It didn’t take long for his potential to show itself. Not long after being drafted, Locastro introduced himself to professional baseball by batting .283 with 12 stolen bases in 43 games for the Bluefield Blue Jays in the rookie level Appalachian League. It really started to show in his final short season in 2014, where he had a .313 batting average and 32 stolen bases for the Vancouver Canadiens of the Northwest League, earning him his first mid-season All-Star Game appearance.

Locastro showed no signs of slowing down in his first full season as a minor leaguer, hitting .310 and 30 stolen bases for the Lansing Lugnuts of the Single-A Midwest League. He was well on his way to another All-Star appearance before he and pitcher Chase De Jong were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization to finish out the 2015 season with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

To be traded and go cross country to a new team was a new and unexpected experience for Locastro. He was caught by surprise with the news in the morning of July 2, 2015, and had to hop on a plane to head west to Southern California that same night to play his first game for the Quakes on Fourth of July weekend, usually one of the few in the Minor League calendar that is guaranteed to be a sellout. It also came at a time when his parents were planning to visit him in Lansing.

It helped Locastro to come to a new organization with a familiar face in De Jong, who was his roommate in Rancho Cucamonga. Their addition paid off as the two former Blue Jays prospects helped the Quakes win the California League Championship.

While in the Blue Jays farm system, Locastro only hit one home run per season from 2013 to 2015. He found his power in the California League and hit five home runs for the Quakes in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016. He finished the 2016 season playing for the Tulsa Drillers of the Double-A Texas League, hitting .285 with six home runs, a career high 52 RBI and 24 stolen bases.

One of Locastro’s most memorable moments as a pro baseball player was in spring training on Easter last year, where for one day he got to put on the Dodger blue and go out on the field with the big leaguers he aspires to be, with his father in attendance. In classic Locastro fashion, he got hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance.

If nothing else, Locastro has the ability to provide the Dodgers with a utility infielder with speed, spunk and plate discipline once they eventually move on with some of their veterans.

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