One of the the Blue Jays prospects we’ve been looking forward to seeing is Venezuelan RHP Maximo Castillo. Lansing Lunguts Manager Cesar Martin obliged, sending Castillo to the mound in the 7th inning of the Lugs Opening Day win against Great Lakes last night.
A 2015 IFA, Castillo is listed at 6’2″/256, although he looks 5-10 pounds lighther than that. At 18, he’s one of two teenagers on the Lansing roster (2B Samad Taylor is the other), and pitched very well as a 17 year old in the Appy League last year. Castillo did give up some contact (54 hits in 47 IP) because he’s usually around the strike zone, although he fanned 52, and walked only 7.
Castillo has a tall and fall, over the top delivery, which gives him a good downward plane on his sinker, allowing him to live in the bottom half of the zone. He has good command to either side of the plate.
Castillo struck out three of the four hitters he faced in his one inning of work, showcasing a curve with late break and good bite. He had so much action on one of his two strike breaking balls that Catcher Ridge Smith had absolutely no chance to get down to block it, allowing the runner to reach 1st after whiffing on the pitch. Castillo retired the other hitter on a 6-3 ground out.
Castillo does not light up the radar gun, sitting 90-92 on this night, and probably would work a little higher in warmer weather. Because he commands his fastball so well, and gets ahead of hitters, his curve becomes an even more effective secondary pitch.
At 18, there’s some room for projection on Castillo’s fastball. More importantly, he has a polished delivery, and shows a good feel for pitching. We look forward to seeing longer outings from him as the season progresses.
Kudos to Smith, he showed some good agility and blocking skills behind the plate during this game.