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Rockies reliever Miguel Castro went through injury-tinged growing pains

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Castro didn't get to pitch enough in 2016 for us to get a real good read on his progression, but he's going to be fine.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 season did not yield the results anyone wanted or expected from Colorado Rockies reliever Miguel Castro.

When he was healthy -- which, it can be argued, was at no point during the season -- Castro was not good. The 21-year-old right-hander surrendered 10 earned runs on 18 hits in 14⅔ innings while producing -0.1 rWAR at the major league level. The sample was too small to draw any real conclusions, but perhaps the lone silver lining was that Castro's walk rate was the lowest it had been during his brief big league career. In a slightly larger but still ultimately insignificant 15⅔-inning sample at Triple-A Albuquerque, the highly touted flamethrower was downright putrid, posting a 10.34 ERA.

None of that is as concerning as Castro's health, though. He actually started the season fairly well (just a run on two hits and two walks allowed in six innings) before landing on the disabled list on April 22 with right shoulder inflammation. Castro returned to the Rockies a month later but didn't look like the same pitcher, which perhaps is why he wound up on the DL again while with the Isotopes.

Assuming Castro is ready to go when spring training rolls around, his 2016 season shouldn't be viewed as much more than injury-tinged growing pains. But with Jesus Tinoco struggling in the low minors and Jeff Hoffman most likely requiring an extended adjustment period as he enters his second full professional season, Castro -- as the other piece of the Rockies' return in the Troy Tulowitzki trade -- will have some pressure to perform soon, fair or not.

It's a good thing he's equipped with a 96 mph heater, a wipeout slider, a devloping change-up and improved command to be able to combat said pressure. In short, he'll be fine -- and the healthy version of him will be a piece the Rockies' bullpen desperately needs.