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Cardozo pitcher drafted highest of city HS players

Cardozo pitcher drafted highest of city HS players
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Joseph Staszewski

Adrian Castano didn’t concern himself with being drafted, just baseball.

The Benjamin Cardozo centerfielder headed to a field in College Point to practice his craft with the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft going on. He has a good chance of being selected.

“I didn’t want to sit down,” Castano said. “I just wanted it to happen and if it happened, it happened and if it didn’t, it didn’t. It happened on a baseball field.”

He eventually got the call, with his father Adrian Sr. He asked his son how it felt to be a professional ballplayer after Castano was drafted June 8 by the Detroit Tigers in the 26th round (786 overall), the highest selection by any New York City high school player.

“I didn’t react,“ he said. “I was just like, ‘Umm ….’”

The joy eventually came over him as one of his boyhood dreams became a reality. He said at 5 years old he thought about what it would be like to play for his favorite team: the New York Mets. Getting drafted by the Tigers was just as good.

“It’s a kid’s dream,” Castano said.

His father told him to come home to celebrate, but his son had something else he needed to do before he came home. There was still baseball to be played.

“He was like, ‘No, I’m going to play catch,’” Adrian Sr. said. “He stayed on the field for 45 more minutes.”

Castano is unsure whether he will sign with the Tigers or choose to go to Division I Lamar University in Texas. He has until June 21, the day he graduates from high school, to decide. Castano believes he wins either way.

“I still have to sit down with my mom and dad and make a decision. Whichever decision I make I am just going to run with it,” he said.

Cardozo Coach Ron Gorecki said he knew the now 6-foot-2, 185-pound Castano could be special when he was a lanky freshman with a high baseball IQ. Castano, who never lost a high school game pitching, left the mound this season to focus on being an everyday centerfielder. Gorecki thinks Castano can end up in the majors some day if given time and training to grow.

“He has a great shot of going all the way,” the coach said.

Castano, who learned to hit to all fields, was one of the city’s most feared and respected hitters, batted .515 during the regular season and upped it to .714 in two playoff games. He had an on-base percentage of .633 and an .865 slugging percentage to help lead the Judges to the Queens A East Division title.

“He is truly a five-tool player,” Gorecki said. “He does everything with the ease and the grace of a Division I college player right now.”

Castano finished his career as a high school player and a big week, by accepting the PSAL Wingate award for baseball June 10 at the Brooklyn Marriot. The honor is given annually to the best senior in each of the league’s sports. It showed him how far he’s come and what he was able to accomplish.

“It’s been a long tough week, but it came to an end and it’s a dream come true,” Castano said. “I couldn’t have one better.”

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