If you happened to be looking down a list of 60-yard dash times and spotted a 6.9, you likely wouldn’t assume that someone who was six-foot-four and 225 pounds was the one who ran it.
That’s Jack Casteel.
And that’s something that’s pretty commonplace in all of the Texas native’s scouting reports with the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series, that he “runs well for a guy his size,” and that’s even after the 7.18 he put down this summer in Nashville at the Underclass Combine, a time he’s been able to cut down with continued hard work this fall.
“I was never the most athletic kid, but my 60 time, it’s a lot better than what you’d think for a big guy like me,” Casteel told FSS Plus.
“One thing I really work on a lot is mobility and flexibility. I think that translates to speed, and it’s something I really try to work on for someone my size…the days I do work out, I make sure I really get my body ready for that, and I’ll do a stretching session before the weight room and the days I’m not working out, I try to enhance my recovery by stretching or taking an ice bath or something like that. I’ve been really trying to find little things to enhance recovery.”
The 6.9 60-yard dash time was one that Casteel put down recently at a Fall camp at the University of Michigan, one in which he says really impressed himself with, not knowing he was capable of something like that until he was actually able to achieve it. A high-character player with a strong work ethic, it was another example of hard work paying off.
“We were in the indoor football facility, and I was like, ‘I feel like I’m kind of moving today,'” Casteel said. “I heard that number, and that felt pretty good.”
With a corner profile defensively — one that potentially continues to extend to the outfield given his agility — and one that’s led by the bat elsewhere, getting his measureables down will make the uncommitted 2025 class talent even more appealing to interested schools, and says some coaches have reached out after his big summer and continuation of that at fall camps.
Casteel says his focus remains on simply improving his craft, but is also eager to see “uncommitted” one day vanish from being next to his name.
“Obviously I am, I’ll see my peers at Future Stars events or other kids, or just on Twitter, I’ll see everyone committing,” he said. “That makes me want to do it too, and it motivates me a lot. I try to tell myself that I don’t want to compare myself to those other people, and I should just worry about me.”
With that said, Casteel knows that this upcoming summer will go a long towards determining exactly what his path moving forward will look like, saying that with how competitive his district is on the high school side of the game, it’ll help him continue to develop.
But without the foundation he helped set for that this summer, he might not be as far ahead of the game as he is. A lot of that experience came with the Future Stars Series, where he made appearances at the Underclass Combine in Nashville, Underclass Elite event in Boston and then capped it off with a trip to the Dominican Republic at the Caribbean Classic.
“That was all great,” he said. “I was really looking forward, with all three of those events that I was in, really to see where I’m at against really good players and playing against the best I could play. I think that will make be better as a player, and I didn’t want to turn down those opportunities because you’re seeing good velo and getting to watch really good players who are all going to play D1, a lot of professional players too. That really helps me get better, and I was really excited to do all of those events.”
In particular, it was his experience at the Underclass Elite that stands out, as playing under the lights of Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford provided a taste of a future in professional baseball that Casteel hopes to one day get to experience.
“I remember Coach (Jeremy) Hamilton, he was kind of saying, ‘Welcome to pro ball’ when we were in the clubhouse,’ Casteel recalls. “It was like a dive into the pro ball stuff, from riding the bus to being in the clubhouse, that was all really awesome. Getting all the gear, that was the cherry on top of the whole experience. I thought the whole thing was fun, but it showed you what it was like to get to play professionally, and how hard it is to do.”
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