By Jon Weisman
Over at Fangraphs, Carson Cistulli has a regular feature called “The Fringe Five,” which (in a shorthand definition) is dedicated to prospects that fall just outside of the spotlight of all the top rankings.
Minor-league Dodger infielder Tim Locastro has become something of a regular on this roundup. Here’s what Cistulli wrote about him five days ago:
Locastro made his first appearance among the Five last July, shortly after having been traded by the Blue Jays to the Dodgers — which transaction also led to his debut at High-A, thus rendering him eligible for consideration here. Here were Locastro’s credentials at that time: he’d carried a strikeout rate below 10%, exhibited at least average power on contact, posted impressive baserunning numbers, and recorded the majority of his defensive starts at either second base or shortstop. A month through the 2016 season, here are some statements one might employ to characterize the 23-year-old now: he’s got a strikeout rate below 10%, is exhibiting at least average power on contact, is posting impressive baserunning numbers, and has recorded the majority of his starts at either second base or shortstop. He’s been particularly impressive of late. Regard: in 28 plate appearances from April 28 through May 3, Locastro recorded a 5:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio and five extra-base hits, including a home run. None of which is to recognize how he was drafted out of Division III Ithaca College.
Fringe or not, Locastro is generating headlines. In the midst of a 13-game hitting streak, on Tuesday he hit for the cycle for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, as Tyler Maun of MiLB.com reports:
On a night when his team was piling up hits, Tim Locastro was being treated like it was a game with none.
“Before, there was nothing being said. It was sort of like a no-hitter or a perfect game,” he said. “I don’t know if they knew that I was a triple away, but I definitely knew.”
In his final trip to the plate, the Dodgers infield prospect laced a triple to right field to complete the first cycle of his career, capping a 4-for-5 night, as Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga pounded Lancaster, 12-1.
Locastro’s shot at history almost didn’t happen. The Quakes shortstop singled in the seventh inning, but with his team well in front, chances looked slim that he’d bat again. Rancho Cucamonga made sure Locastro got a chance for the most difficult leg of the cycle in the eighth.
“If I got it in the gap, I was going for three no matter what,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to get that at-bat to have a chance to do that, but the guys were able to bat around [in the seventh] and help me get up again.” …
Read the entire story here. The 23-year-old Locatro now has a .403 on-base percentage and .536 slugging percentage for the Quakes.
The game also featured three other performances of note, each from Cubans. In his third start in the U.S., right-hander Yaisel Sierra, 24, pitched six shutout innings, allowing six baserunners while striking out three. Teenage outfielder Yusniel Diaz, 19, went 2 for 4 with a walk and three runs, and now has a .379 on-base percentage and .518 slugging percentage.
Yusnier Diaz started his pro career 1-for-17 with 8 strikeouts in two series. Since then: .371/.420/.645, 6 BB, 10 K, 69 nice PA.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) May 9, 2016
And Alex Guerrero, whose last game was March 21 in Spring Training, went 1 for 5 with a stolen base in his rehab debut, driving in Locastro after the triple.