Cincinnati Reds right-handed pitcher Luis Castillo will be promoted to the major league roster today and will make his MLB Debut tonight against Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals. Here’s a quick take on the Cincy rookie.
Castillo was originally signed by the San Francisco Giants out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. A successful reliever at the lower levels, he was traded to the Miami Marlins in December 2014 and converted to starting. His 2015 and 2016 seasons were solid enough then he was traded to the Reds this past winter for Dan Straily.
He ranked 12th pre-season on the Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospects for 2017 list with the following commentary:
12) Luis Castillo, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 24, acquired from Marlins in January 2017 Dan Straily deal; posted 2.26 ERA with 103/25 K/BB in 132 innings between High-A and Double-A, just 107 hits; attractive due to 95-100 MPH fastball; slider and change-up are inconsistent, resulting in a low strikeout rate for a pitcher who throws this hard; unclear if he starts or relieves long-term, that will depend on what happens with the change-up; ETA 2018.
His 2017 season has been excellent: 14 starts for Double-A Pensacola, with a 2.58 ERA in 80.1 innings, only 68 hits allowed, and a superior 81/13 K/BB ratio.
Castillo is listed at 6-2, 190, a right-handed hitter and thrower born December 12th, 1992. There’s certainly nothing to complain about with his Pensacola numbers: all of his ratios are strong and he’s improved his strikeouts while cutting down on his walks. He’s 95-98 as a starter and has made notable progress with his secondary pitches, Doug Gray at Reds Minor Leagues noting that his change-up is “getting glowing reports.” The state of the change-up was the biggest question when the season started so this augers well.
That said, Castillo is making a big leap from the Southern League to the National League with no intervening Triple-A experience. He is an exciting talent, but patience with any rookie making such a jump is advised.