One of the Miami Marlins main focuses of the offseason was to rebuild their pitching staff. While still searching for an ace, they first signed Ednison Volquez to join incumbents Wei-Yin Chen, Tom Koehler and Adam Conley. Yesterday, they finalized a deal that sent three prospects to the Cincinnati Reds for Dan Straily.
So, who did the Reds pick up?
— Luis Castillo, RHP —
The Marlins have been seemingly trying to ship off Castillo for some time now, which may or may not be exactly encouraging. He was part of the Andrew Cashner deal with the Padres that fell apart when Colin Rea turned out to be damaged goods. Castillo would be returned to the Marlins, only to see himself traded away again a few months later.
Castillo completed his transformation from reliever to starter last season in a big way. He was strong in his 23 appearances in the Florida State League, posting a 2.07 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and 91-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 117.2 innings, posting a respectable 1.12 ground out to air out ratio. His results weren’t as strong in his three-game Double-A debut, but they weren’t bad by any means.
He certainly has power, being clocked in triple-digits this past season, usually coming in in the high-90s. MLB Pipeline and Baseball America seem to like his curvy slider, while John said this at the time of the Padres trade:
Castillo is listed at 6-2, 170, age 23. He throws quite hard, timed as high as 100-101 in short stretches and working consistently in the mid-90s. Both his slider and change-up show at least average potential and he's done a good job throwing strikes this year, but opinions differ on whether he will start or relieve in the long run. He looks ready for Double-A in any event.
Now 24, it’s safe to assume Castillo will see Triple-A. In a Reds system that has some intriguing young pitching options, he will have to impress to remain a starter, but he seems to have the weapons in place to be a good bullpen piece if that fails.
— Austin Brice, RHP —
(video courtesy of)
From the The Baseball Prospect Book 2016:
Austin Brice does several things well. He stays healthy and eats innings without getting hurt. His fastball can hit 95 MPH and is consistently in the low-90s. His curveball is plus, at times. He rings up his share of strikeouts and can dominate when his command is on. However, the negatives have kept his overall stock at a middling level. Command remains a consistent problem, likely related to a delivery that looks somewhat stiff and effort-full. His change-up lags behind his other pitches and in general his results are often less than the sum of the parts.
Not much changed with the fastball’s velocity, however, he seems to have changed to a two-seamer, racking up high career-high ground ball rates. The command issues remained and the change-up didn’t develop as much as they had hoped. The Marlins moved Brice from a starter to the bullpen, and he pitched well enough to make his way from Double-A to the bigs.
Upon his promotion to Triple-A, he was lights out, converting both of his save opportunites behind a 1.04 ERA and a 10-to-1 strikeout to walk rate over eight innings. He also posted a 2.50 GO/AO, an impressive task in the power-happy PCL.
The 6-foot-4, 230 pound, 24 year old seems to have found his niche as a reliever. The results weren’t brilliant in his big league debut behind a 7.07 ERA, but the other numbers over his 15 appearances weren’t that bad. He posted a 14-to-5 strikeout-to-walk rate with a 1.00 WHIP, limiting big league opponents to a .173 batting average and a 1.64 GO/AO. He should be able to help the Reds at the major league level early on in the season.
— Isaiah White, OF —
John loved White coming into last season, labeling him as a High Ceiling Alert prospect. With blazing fast speed and natural athleticism, there was a lot to like coming off of an impressive debut in the Gulf Coast League after the Marlins made him their third round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. He slashed .294/.321/.381 in the GCL, going a perfect 13-for-13 on the base paths. The one glaring negative was his plate presence, striking out 44 times while walking just three in 126 at bats. He would hardly be the first 19 year old out of high school to struggle with his first taste of professional pitching.
The word that you will see most associated with White is raw. He has a swing that looks like it could develop some power, however, he still was very raw at the plate in the New York-Penn League this past season, slashing .214/.306/.301 while striking out 60 times in his 173 at bats and walking just 22 times. One would hope that with 70 to 80-grade speed, White develops some patience.
He is also raw as a center fielder. His speed can cover up some mistakes and make up a lot of room in the gaps, but nearly every report indicates that he is far from polished in his route running.
White is a wild card in the deal, and won’t be fast tracked any time soon. If he can harness his raw abilities, the Reds could have a nice future outfielder on their hands.