When news broke that the Rays and Padres were in serious trade discussions, the focus of the Padres’ return was outfielder Wil Myers, but he wasn’t the only piece A.J. Preller landed in the deal. One of the four players received was lefty Jose Castillo.
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Castillo was signed out Venezuela in 2012 for $1.55 million, a record for a Venezuelan lefty at the time. His best pitch is his fastball which currently sits in low 90s, but he’s expected to add some velocity as matures, due to size at 6’4 200 lbs. He also currently throws a curveball and a change up. Neither have developed all that much at this time, but at 18 years old he’ll have plenty of time to work on them both.
In his first action on American soil, Castillo struggled. In 30 2/3 innings he posted a 5.87 ERA with a WHIP of 1.37 in 2013. He did have a FIP of 3.13 and an extremely high BAPIP of .344, so there’s reason to believe his struggles were largely the result of bad luck. His follow up campaign was cut short after 4 2/3 innings due to what was reported as arm tenderness. In those few innings he gave up 2 runs on 3 hits.
Castillo has lost a little bit of his value since he signed with the Rays back in 2012, but the talent that the Rays saw back then is still inside of him. He turns 19 next month and is still yet to play a full season of baseball since coming to America.
Once he fully develops we don’t know exactly who he’ll be, but there’s a lot of upside in that arm and after losing a top pitching prospect in the deal in Joe Ross the Padres are likely banking on him being pretty good. Preller made his name in international scouting, so I trust he knows what he’s looking at when it comes to a player like Castillo.