Ismael Castro Gamboa
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 193 lb.
Ismael Castro was a minor league player for eleven years, reaching AAA. In seven of those seasons, he hit .300 or better.
Castro signed with the Seattle Mariners in 1999. He debuted in 2000 with San Felipe and hit .302. With the 2001 Aguirre club, he batted .300 and stole 23 bases. In 2002, Ismael batted .313/.356/.507 in 66 games for the Everett AquaSox, with 13 steals in 15 tries, 26 doubles and 55 runs. Promoted to the San Bernardino Stampede, he was 3 for 20 with two doubles, a walk and nine K. He led the Northwest League in many categories - hits (89), runs, total bases (144), extra-base hits (36) and doubles. He was third in slugging and fifth in average. He was named the NWL All-Star second baseman as well as MVP. Baseball America named him the loop's #3 prospect after Andy Sisco and Freddy Lewis.
At age 19, Castro hit .275/.314/.373 for the Inland Empire 66ers. He returned to the same club the next year and looked much sharper (.303/.343/.500) in 16 games before a season-ending left knee sprain). Moving up to the San Antonio Missions in 2005, the Colombian put up a .264/.286/.390 line. He split 2006 between San Antonio (.241/.274/.339 in 31 G) and the Tacoma Rainiers (.303/.332/.486). Despite being only 23 years old at season's end and having done well in his AAA stint, the Mariners did not re-sign him for 2007.
Going to the independent leagues in '07, Ismael hit .332/.385/.543 with 37 doubles in 83 games for the Macon Music. He led the South Coast League in two-baggers. In 2008, Castro batted .300/.339/.393 with the Nashua Pride, followed by .317/.340/.453 with 20 doubles for the 2009 Yuma Scorpions. He ended his minor league career with a .331/.356/.457 line for the 2010 Chico Outlaws.
Castro helped Colombia win a Silver Medal at the 2010 South American Games. In the 2010 Pan American Games Qualifying Tournament, he hit .333/.333/.500. He was a bench player in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament, backing up Reynaldo Rodríguez at 1B and Donovan Solano at 2B. He got two plate appearances - pinch-hitting for Rodríguez in the 9th inning of a 7-1 loss to Brazil, he singled off Rafael Moreno. Replacing Solano late in a 9-7 loss to Panama, he was retired by Manuel Corpas.
Castro helped Colombia win the 2015 South American Championship, their first South American Championship title. He hit .211/.250/.263 with 3 runs and 3 RBI in six games in the 2015 Pan American Games, splitting 1B with Héctor Acuña and 2B with several players, primarily Sneider Batista. He tied for second on Colombia in RBI, one behind leader Steve Brown.