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Castro Makes MLB Debut, Becomes 179th Hillcat to Make Majors

August 25, 2019 - Carolina League (CarL) - Lynchburg Hillcats News Release

Lynchburg, Va. - Former Lynchburg Hillcats shortstop Willi Castro made his Major League debut for the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, August 24, against the Minnesota Twins. He started the game at shortstop and batted seventh in Detroit's lineup, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. The Twins beat the Tigers, 8-5, at Target Field.

The Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico native was signed by the Indians as an International Free Agent in 2013. On July 31, 2018, Castro was traded to the Tigers in a deal that netted the Tribe Leonys Martin. The switch-hitter played in 606 minor league games prior to his call-up to The Show, batting .273 across nearly seven seasons.

Castro appeared in 123 games in a Hillcats uniform during the 2017 season as the club's everyday shortstop. He was a Carolina League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star that year, batting .290 with 11 home runs, 58 RBI, 26 doubles and 19 stolen bases. Castro finished among the Carolina League leaders with 140 hits (second), a .290 batting average (fourth) and 69 runs scored (sixth). The Indians placed him on the club's 40-man roster following the 2017 campaign.

Ranked by as the Detroit Tigers No. 11 overall prospect, Castro has proven to be a durable player, never playing less than 119 games in a full season. The 22-year-old has been an All-Star in four consecutive minor league seasons since 2016 and has stolen at least 16 bags in three straight years.

This season, Castro led the International League with eight triples while playing for Triple-A Toledo. He also ranks second in the league with 140 hits. Overall, the shortstop batted .301 with 11 home runs and set career-highs with 62 RBI, 28 doubles and 217 total bases across 119 contests.

Castro is the 179th Hillcats player to make his Major League debut since 1995. He becomes the sixth former Hillcats player to make their MLB debut this season, joining Aaron Civale and Bobby Bradley, Yu Chang, Zach Plesac and Ryne Harper.

The Hillcats return home on Monday, August 26 to begin the final homestand of the season when the Wilmington Blue Rocks and Winston-Salem Dash visit City Stadium. Homestand highlights include Kids Eat Free Tuesday, Winning Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Fantastic Friday, Sparkling Saturday, and Sandlot Sunday. Friday's game will be Margaritaville Night at City Stadium with a Jimmy Buffett cover band and an Aloha Jersey Auction as well as a sunglasses giveaway courtesy of High Peak Sportswear. Saturday's game will have the final fireworks show of the season at City Stadium.

For tickets or more information, visit, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.

The Lynchburg Hillcats are the Advanced-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The Hillcats are eight-time Carolina League Champions, having most recently won the Mills Cup Championship in 2017. The Hillcats play their home games at City Stadium, which has been home to Minor League Baseball in Lynchburg since 1963. Visit the Hillcats online at, and follow the Hillcats on Twitter (@LynHillcats), Instagram (@LynHillcats) and Facebook (Lynchburg Hillcats). For more information about the Lynchburg Hillcats, please contact Max Gun at

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