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Jose Castillo Scouting Report, San Diego Padres — January, 2018

Full Name: Jose Gregorio (Tovar) Castillo
DOB: January 10, 1996 (22)
Birthplace: Valencia, Venezuela
School: None
Acquired: Int’l FA (Tampa Bay), 2012
Height, Weight: 6’4”, 200 lbs.
Position: LHP
Bats/Throws: L/L
Dates Observed: 2017 — April 17; April 19; May 5; May 7 May 17; June 13; July 22
Affiliate(s): Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A, San Diego Padres)
Previous Reports: None

Tool (PV/FV)
Notes & Comments
Fastball (55/65)
Hard, lively fastball with great downward plane thanks to height and release point; tough for hitters to square up with downward action and (occasionally) plus velocity there. Pretty easy out of his hand; clear access to top velocity, but struggles to repeat it consistently pitch to pitch. Mechanical inconsistencies rob Castillo of consistent mid- to upper-90s look right now, but arm strength is there and he’ll reach back and dial it up as necessary. Flip side of that, though, is tendency to overthrow; will miss high both in and above strike zone when he rushes to the plate and overthrows. Command improvements and natural development in next couple years have a chance to make this a legitimate double-plus pitch that sits in the mid- to upper-90s with ease out of the hand. Velocity: 91-97.

Slider (45/55)
Tight 11-to-5 break with good depth late to the plate at its best; less sweeping action and more tight, almost cut-like action, but typically with better depth than most cutters. Tendency to get around the pitch on occasion and spin it out like a cement mixer without late, sharp break; when he stays on top of the pitch, as with the fastball, there’s a lot of life and late movement here with good late break. Hard enough with sharp life to be effective against both RHH and LHH at its best. Mechanical/release point improvements (as well as command here too, to some degree) could make this an above-average pitch in time. Velocity: 83-87.

Command (40/45)
Struggles to stay on top of the ball with long limbs and tall release point at high three-quarters from left-handed side; lacks nuanced command feel side to side and will lose control down-to-up on occasion when mechanics get out of whack. Effectively wild to a certain degree with his fastball; can be dominant at times and needs to more consistently channel that through windup and to one release point. As it all relates to command, though, he throws enough strikes to survive in relief and should play up well in high-leverage stints in the future, particularly against left-handed hitters.

Tall and long body with long arms and a lot of moving parts through his delivery. Nearly turns his back to hitters up at balance point; particularly deceptive there to hide the ball from LHH more so than RHH, who will see the ball early out behind his back after hand break. Big leg drive to the plate with high three-quarters release point, though his arm struggles to consistently catch up to lower half and mechanics are inconsistent at this point, thus affecting release point and command. Works from the extreme third base side of the rubber, giving up some of his lefty-on-lefty leverage. Occasional tendency to cut-off follow through after release with notable recoil; just one of several ways he robs himself of velocity in small ways here and there. At his best/most consistent, mechanics are in sync with great raw arm strength to produce serious velocity, but it hasn’t thus far happened consistently enough for him to sit mid-90s day after day; still a good chance to iron things out and find efficient delivery to work in short relief.

Jose Castillo snuck up on me a little bit as 2017 wore on; saw him a few times early in the year and put him in the back of my mind before really bearing down on him late in the year when he more consistently started flirting with an upper-90s fastball. The San Diego Padres protected him on their 40-man roster over the winter, indicating they’re clearly interested in figuring out if he can help the big league bullpen fairly soon; feels like there’s a natural fit here as a situational left-handed reliever with perhaps a chance at more general high-leverage set-up work assuming better command and consistency. Big-bodied kid with some baby fat still on him; naturally strong just by virtue of his build, but not necessarily well conditioned at this point; perhaps some modest room to add strength here in subtle ways that could help him consistently work in the upper 90s. Just turned 22 years old two weeks ago, so well ahead of schedule now with clearly some room left to grow into his body, as well as his career path.

OFP (50 FV)
Sneaky-bright future as a left-handed situational reliever with perhaps a shot at an ultimate ceiling as a general set-up man in the big leagues, contingent on finding consistency in command and mechanics. Big, burly lefty who reminds me a little bit of Jake McGee, though I think it’s unlikely Castillo sees a ceiling quite that good in San Diego. He’s well ahead of schedule already, though, and Jose Castillo should spend the first part of 2018 with Double-A San Antonio; he could see big league time later this year if things go right. Long term, feels likely he’ll turn into a valuable left-handed short relief option. MLB ETA: 2019.

Jose Castillo Scouting Report, San Diego Padres — Game Video

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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census. A former college and independent league baseball player, he now watches more than 200 games a year working full time for the site. You can follow him on Twitter @BobbyDeMuro for more.

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