What to Expect from Rusney Castillo

rusney castillo

Last August when when of the top Cuban defectors became available on the free agency market, teams pounced on the opportunity to sign center fielder Rusney Castillo. He showed off the raw tools that scouts drool over— power, speed and bat speed. Without ever playing in a big league game, Castillo got the Boston Red Sox to shell out $72.5 million in order to obtain his services for seven seasons (including 2014).
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Already playing in ten big league games, Castillo hit .333 for Boston, but for many it is still unclear what type of a player he will be when the sample size increases.

Former Boston Red Sox utility man and 2007 World Series champion Alex Cora, who coached Rusney Castillo in the Puerto Rican Winter League, has nothing but high praise for the Cuban defector.
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“I don’t think he’s a middle of the order guy,” Alex Cora told NESN. “I think he’s going to berusney castillo a game-changer at the top of the lineup, or one of those guys that can hit seventh and pick up the slack with whoever is up there running the bases, he can drive them in.”

In the Puerto Rican Winter League, Castillo impressed all when he hit .407 in 37 at-bats with a homer and two steals. Although the sample size is limited, he has impressed everywhere fans outside of Cuba have been able to see him play.
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While it appears as though speed might just be his biggest, it might take him awhile to get used to stealing bases because he has not played against much live competition in the past few years.

Giving Castillo high praise is FanGraphs whose Steamer projections project that he hits .262 in 122 games with 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases for the Red Sox this year. The Fans prediction on the site shows him hitting 16 homes in 137 games with 26 stolen bases while hitting .278 and posting an impressive .339 OBP.
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If either of those are accurate, he will be a major contributor to the Red Sox next season.

Rusney Castillo, Six Others To Play In AZFL

rusney castilloIn addition to playing Major League Baseball this year, Red Sox center fielder Rusney Castillo will be playing in both the Arizona Fall League and the Puerto Rico Winter League. The goal here is to get Castillo to see 200 at-bats on the year.

Castillo, 27, has been relatively effective for the Red Sox on four games this year collecting four hits in 16 at-bats while striking out twice and swiping a bag.
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The Cuban outfielder is projected to start for the Red Sox in 2015 in center field while Yoenis Cespedes and Mookie Betts man left and right field respectively.

Joining Castillo in Arizona Fall League competition will be six other prospects. Most notably, 2012 first round draft pick Deven Marrero will be joining the competition. In addition to Marrero, Keith Couch, Aaron Kurcz, Robby Scott, Madison Younginer and Sean Coyle will be heading to the Copper State to see some more competition.
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Marrero is known as a great defensive shortstop, but his bat lagged behind in Pawtucket. Hitting just .210 in 50 games for the Paw Sox, it is clear he was chosen so he could work on his bat a little bit more.

Although an effective player in AA, Couch has yet to break through and take a spot in AAA. He pitched well in the Governor’s Cup playoff race going 6.2 strong allowing just one hit while walking a pair and fanning four, but he must prove his worth in Fall League competition.

Both Aaron Kurcz and Robby Scott dominated their AA competition this year, but were a bit on the older side to be there. Despite posting a 2.14 ERA and 1.96 ERA respectively, they are 24 and 25 years old meaning they need to break to impress the coaches more than say a 21-year-old with overpowering stuff and no command would.
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Drafted in 2009, Madison Younginer has great stuff, but he needs to get it together before he is a successful player. At only 23 years of age, he still has some time to get it together, but must prove he can handle AA competition next season. His 4.08 ERA in 57.1 innings is suspect, but striking out 55 men makes one a little more confident in him.

Lastly, Sean Coyle is an interesting prospect. An undersized power-hitting second baseman, Coyle actually played in the Futures Game this past summer as a replacement player. He hit just .218/.293/.378 in the second half this year, but managed to clip 16 homeruns in just 97 games, showing encouraging signs of power when combined with his .512 slugging percentage on the year.
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All of these men will be members of the Surprise Saguaros and their season begins October 7th as they take on the Peoria Javelinas at 12:35 MST.

Rusney Castillo On The Fast Track To MLB

rusney castilloAn interesting story came out Wednesday night involving the Boston Red Sox. According to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, Rusney Castillo will be making his MLB debut this year for sure. It was widely speculated at first, but now there is solid evidence the front office agrees with the fans.

Despite limited time in the Boston Red Sox organization, with limited results, Rusney Castillo is already a household name for fans everywhere. The Cuban defector earned the largest contract ever for his circumstances and hopes could not be higher for him.
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Hopes may be high for the nearly 27-year-old outfielder, but he lacks experience in professional baseball. He played in just two games for the GCL Red Sox before moving up to AA, which is a better fit for Castillo right now who looks to get his timing back against advanced pitching.

In three games he has gathered two hits in eight at-bats while drawing a walk and stealing a bag. More steals will come for Castillo in time as he looks to get his timing down on the base paths as well. He has the speed to swipe bags, but got picked off after a late attempt in one GCL game. Little things like that will take some adjusting, but the talent is there.
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Castillo will continue to compete in the Red Sox organization, climbing the organizational ladder one step at a time. Although he is a lock to get a September call-up, he will likely compete more in AA Portland and AAA Pawtucket before hand to help him get ready for big league action.

Although he has only played in three pro games in America, Castillo is already projected by many to start for the Boston Red Sox in center field next year. Projections are tough for a relatively unknown player, so it will be interesting to see what type of player he becomes.
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Plate discipline will be key to look out for. His walks to strikeouts ratio is key to his success because, unlike Yoenis Cespedes, he lacks the ability to pop 30 home runs a season. When a player lacks power, people tend to judge them more harshly because they have a harder time making game-changing plays.