2019 Prospect Discussion, 7 of … ; Starlyn Castillo

Today’s subject is Starlyn Castillo.  These articles will mostly be about players I have seen.  So, they will be about players from the lower levels of the organization.  If you have someone in particular you want to hear about, put the name in the comments section.  If I’ve seen enough to warrant a post, I’ll strongly consider it.

This is an open discussion about some of the Phillies’ minor league prospects.  Phillies’ talk and other non-prospect discussion should remain in the Open Discussion.

Starlyn Castillo was signed by the Phillies as an international free agent on July 2, 2018 out of the Dominican Republic.

Castillo spent that first summer at the Phillies Dominican Academy on a future services contract.  He came stateside after the 2018 season to attend his first Instructs.  The 17-year-old RHP saw limited action this summer in his first professional season.  He developed a blister on the middle finger on his throwing hand toward the end of XST and was held of GCL action until mid-July.

Castillo made five appearances but exhibited a composure that far exceeded his young age.  In his third appearance, he pitched the second, third, and fourth innings of a no hitter.  He had a low-to-mid 90s fastball that he complemented with promising secondary pitches.  He’ll likely repeat rookie ball with a return to Clearwater or possibly Williamsport.

Castillo was one of the top players to come out of the 2018 international signing period (8th by MLB, 16th by Baseball America).  He was signed on July 2nd and received a substantial signing bonus.  He has a 6’0, 210 lb frame.  (He has put on maybe an inch and 5-7 lbs in the past year.)  At 16-years of age, he exhibited a 93-97 mph fastball, a power slider with plus potential, and a developing change up.  As with most young pitchers, scouts noted his inconsistencies with his secondary pitches and his command.  They were also concerned about his weight.  Most Latin ballplayers in their teens are more slightly built.  At worst, he was seen as having a future in the bullpen.

I saw Castillo pitch in XST, in his two home GCL appearances, and in 2019 Instructs.  I didn’t check for velocity during XST and Instructs, but he was 92-94 in his third GCL appearance.  His slider was 87 and his change up was 81-83.  I was impressed with his poise and composure.  So much so that I even forgot he was just 17-years-old.  He was coming off the finger injury, so you have to ignore his pitching line on such a small sample.  You really need to see him.

Photo by Casey Burns
  • Bats right, Throws right
  • 6’0, 210 lbs.
  • Born February 24, 2002 (age 17)
  • International FA out of Pimentel, Dominican Republic, signed on July 2, 2018
  • 2019; GCL Phillies East


25 thoughts on “2019 Prospect Discussion, 7 of … ; Starlyn Castillo

    1. He may be a reliever in the long run, according to Jim’s report. Unless he’s a closer, I doubt he’d make us forget about anybody. But then again, Sixto and Medina may wind up in the bullpen too.

    2. I’m going to have to warn about forgetting Sixto. We ended up with the best catcher in baseball, while Sanchez was putting up good numbers in the minor leagues. I assume JT will continue to be the best and Sixto will again be a minor leaguer.

      I think this trade could end up being a win for both sides and there is nothing wrong with that. Sixto has already been forgotten about by me.

  1. Castillo is a legit live arm. He and Morales are our two best chances with Miller for our next breakthrough pitchers.

  2. Castillo is still a baby… Take it slow with him.. By going slow he can mature and understand the ups/downs of pro ball. There is a lot to like with him.

  3. The scouting reports also projected Castillo would reach triple digits. That might help you forget Sanchez.

    I don’t want to be the type of blogger who thinks every Dennis Martinez is the “best” lefty in the organization (he was released 3 months later) or who thinks that Spencer Howard and Kyle Glogoski are the Phillies comps to Scherzer and Grenke.

    But, I was duly impressed by Castillo. I never compared him to Sanchez other than to observe that they share the similar physical characteristics. But, I did compare him with Morales. I thought he was ahead of Morales until they shut him down at the start of the GCL season for 6 weeks.

    We may never forget Sanchez. He will be on the Marlins 40-man roster. The Marlins have a history of promoting young pitchers (sometimes from AA). Well be reminded of the trade if Sanchez is called up early this season, pitches against the Phillies, and is in contention for the ROY. But, that was the cost for the “best” catcher in baseball. A risk taken by a supposedly “risk -adverse” GM. The risk being the hope of extending Realmuto.

    1. Can we equate the Roy Holiday trade with JT?  We gave up top catching and top pitching prospects, D’arnaud and Drabek along with another minor leaguer Michael Taylor. These equate to Alfaro, Sanchez and Stewart.

      1. Halladay. Holiday was Matt, the outfielder.

        And the trades are still vastly different. You can compare them if you want to, but I don’t know why you would want to.

        1. Sorry. Halladay right. Just trying to get some tummy comfort out of the trade because the other worked out well for us.

        1. Drabek did have high rankings with BA two years running:
          And with BP:

          That is TOR rankings.

            1. yeah…injuries played a part in doing him in…..I suppose, like many failed pitching prospects when they reach the higher minor league levels..he had the two TJs… odds are against pitchers who get two of them..

    2. I’m not accusing Klentak of being the only GM of being risk averse when it comes to pitching (there are many). However, under Klentak, the Phillies have never drafted a pitcher in the first round of the draft, and never handed out a long term contract (more than three guaranteed years) to a FA arm. IMO, the reason Klentak pulled the trigger on the Realmuto deal (and I am glad he did) was because of his tendency to be risk averse when it comes to pitching. I don’t think he would have made the trade if Miami insisted on Alec Bohm instead of Sixto Sanchez.
      Having said all that … I do believe he (with the help of John Middleton twisting his arm) will finally sign (at least one) FA pitcher to a LTD this winter.

      1. Hinkie..agree on the FA pitcher this season vs past years..
        When the boss wants something, better try to accommodate his wishes.
        Also would not put it past Matt K. to make the yearly, of some degree large, off-season trade he seems to relish in doing each year.
        IMO, a lefty pitcher…..hope it is one of either Boyd, Norris, Minor, Ray or even Freeland

    3. I simply appreciate the feedback Jim. And I look forward to watching Castillo progress through the system.

  4. There will be a LTC for a SP this off season. I don’t know who or how ling, but we will get one. Whether or not the team Pres or GM believes in it will not matter. The owner has mandated someone

  5. According to Matt Breen, Matt Klentak is heading to the GM meetings tomorrow with Gerrit Cole at the top of the Phillies wish list. That jives with Matt Gelb’s piece earlier this off season that the Phillies are proceeding with 2 scenarios – one with Cole signing and one without. So he’s their hinge of the hot stove circuit.

  6. I love high risk high ceiling prospects and Starlyn Castillo falls in that category. My only worry with Castillo is his size – too short and too bulky so Francisco Morales is my preferred type of the projection arm. But as long as Castillo’s body can withstand injuries and Castillo as a pitcher has some sense of control and command of his pitches – Castillo is the high risk high reward prospect that I always like.

    1. Short and bulky were not deterrents to other Latin pitchers like Pedro, Bartolo and Johnny Cueto. He still is young enough to lose some of the baby fat.

    2. Physically, Castillo (6’0, 205) reminds me of Sanchez who was listed as 6’0, 185 but was probably closer to 5’10. I wasn’t fooled by his “trick” of wearing his hat on top of this head rather than on his head to give off the appearance of being taller.

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