- Born December 12, 1992 in Bani, Dominican Republic
- Originally signed in 2011 by the San Francisco Giants
- Right handed pitcher
- Finished 8th in the RoY vote in 2017
Signed by the San Francisco Giants as an amateur free agent on December 23, 2011.
Debut June 23, 2017.
Rookie Status: Exceeded Rookie status during 2017 season.
2020 Contract Status: Pre-Arb Eligible.
Arb Eligible: 2021
Free Agent: 2024
|162 Game Avg.||12||12||.509||3.68||34||34||0||0||0||0||196||157||86||80||27||70||1||213||7||3||5||806||119||3.94||1.159||7.2||1.2||3.2||9.8||3.06|
Ken Gif-y Jr.
Luis Castillo burst upon the scene for the Reds back in 2017. After having been acquired by the Reds back in January 2017, he was seemingly little more than an interesting, high upside arm that had pitched only 14 innings above A+ ball for his previous organizations. Something that may or may not pan out, but we’d probably have to wait for a minute.
Apparently, after only 80.1 innings pitched at AA Pensacola, the Reds saw all they needed to see. They promoted him to the Big League club on June 23rd and he’s never looked back.
Castillo would finish that season with 15 starts to his record and a 3.12 ERA and, simply put, he wasn’t under the radar any longer. Expectations were high for the 25 year old in 2018, a season where, maybe if you squinted and tilted your head just so, the Reds could actually win some baseball games.
Of course, we know how that turned out. The Reds began the 2018 campaign 3-15 before firing manager Bryan Price, and really, the rest is history (and Rigglemania). Castillo struggled through an inconsistent and cold spring and early summer, heading into the All Star break with a 5.49 ERA in 103.1 IP. He’d end the season in a flurry, allowing only a 2.44 ERA through his final 11 starts, striking out 69 nice batters in 66.1 innings pitched.
Flashing that type of short term brilliance allows fans to dream on a player’s skill, especially a player with the type of stuff Luis Castillo brings to the table. He lived up to every ounce of expectation to start 2019; his ERA didn’t rise above two until a rocky outing against Milwaukee on May 22nd. He cruised into the All Star break, while making his first All Star team, with a cool 2.29 ERA in 106 IP.
He certainly appeared to be the ace the Reds needed (and the ones their fans deserved after watching historically bad pitching since 2015). Castillo faltered a bit down the stretch, but it was more about the few blow up outings than being below average in general. Over his final 14 starts, Castillo gave up three or fewer runs in 10. In the other four, he gave up eight, six, five and five.
Still, we have nearly 450 Major League innings to judge Castillo on now, and the results are very positive. He’s now the owner of a 3.68 ERA for his career (119 ERA+), with a 3.06 SO/W.
Castillo’s changeup is being regarded more and more as one of the filthiest pitches in the game, due in large part to his better command of it. It can very often make a batter look foolish, and it’s also helped him keep batted balls on the ground at 55.2% clip. But let me let Luis and Rian Watt over at Fangraphs tell the story a bit better.
The fastball, his calling card coming into the league, is still up there in the high 90s (96.5 MPH), thought it’s down one MPH from his rookie season, though that’s probably by design. His fastball velocity is still in the 92nd percentile in all of baseball.
If there’s a place to improve in 2020, it’s with walks. Castillo walked 10% of the batters he faced in 2019, some of which can probably be chalked up to being effectively wild. Still, that’s a three percent jump from 2018. If he is truly ever going to take it to the next, truly elite level, this is something that he and Derek Johnson should’ve been working on in the offseason.
Regardless, it certainly appears that with a couple more tweaks and adjustments, Luis Castillo is the real deal, and he’s here to stay. Get the Pitching 2019 worked, but it worked in large part to the Pitching They Got in 2017, who developed faster and at a higher ceiling than was previously thought.
The expectations are now even higher than before. MLB Network’s Top 100 Right Now ranked Castillo as the 91st best player in all of baseball. He’s arrived. It’s not quaint anymore. Now, with what seems to be the offensive pieces to put the whole thing together, it’s time to go out and prove it.