DIEGO CASTILLO, SHORTSTOP
|Born: October 28, 1997
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2014, Yankees
How Acquired: Trade (with Yankees)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Yankees signed Castillo for a sizable bonus out of Venezuela. As a hitter, he consistently makes contract, but prior to 2021 he hit the ball with very little authority. He started showing power when he got to AA. He’s a good defensive shortstop, and also has experience at second and a little at third. The Pirates acquired Castillo for Clay Holmes.
Castillo played short regularly in the DSL. His hitting was impressive for a 17-year-old, including good gap power.
The Yankees sent Castillo to rookie ball and his hitting dropped off sharply, although he did make good contact. He again played short exclusively.
In low A, Castillo’s offense was limited to hitting a modest number of singles. He split his time between second and short. Baseball America ranked him 27th in the Yankees’ system, partly because he was young for the level at 19.
In high A, Castillo hit almost exactly the same as the previous year. He again played short and second about equally.
The Yankees returned Castillo to high A and he got nearly the exact same results at the plate as the previous two years.
Castillo didn’t play during the pandemic season.
In AA, Castillo suddenly started hitting with good power. Oddly enough, the exact same thing happened with Hoy Park in AAA, whom the Pirates obtained in the same deal at the trade deadline. Castillo split his time about evenly among second, third and short. He continued to hit well after the trade, both at Altoona and Indianapolis, including the power and outstanding plate discipline. For the full season, he hammered LHPs for a .913 OPS and still posted an .811 figure against RHPs. With the Pirates, he continued playing second, third and short about evenly.
The Pirates added Castillo to the 40-man roster after the 2021, then he had a big spring and made the major league roster. He stayed with the Pirates until the end of July, when they optioned him to Indianapolis, where he stayed until being recalled in mid-September. Castillo hit for good power with the Pirates, but he obviously didn’t reach base much. Like some other players on the Pirates, he took a great many pitches, evidently in an effort to get one he could drive. He took called strikes at an extremely high rate, 22.8% of the pitches he saw. The major league norm is a little over 16%. This approach obviously led to a lot of unfavorable counts. He had a huge platoon split, posting a .788 OPS against LHPs but a paltry .449 against RHPs. Defensively, Castillo played short more than anywhere else, making 30 starts there. He made 18 each at second and in right. He also started three times at first and once at third. Statcast has him a little below average at most positions.
Castillo is one of a number of players who could work out in a utility role for the Pirates. Of course, it’d help if they’d work to sort through those players instead of wasting playing time on players, like Josh VanMeter and Greg Allen, who obviously have no long-term value for the team. In Castillo’s case, a lot will depend on his ability to revise his approach at the plate so he’s not getting into so many bad counts.
UPDATE: The Pirates designated Castillo for assignment to make room for Austin Hedges.
|2023: Major league minimum|
|Signing Bonus: $750,000
MiLB Debut: 2015
MLB Debut: 7/16/2021
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2027
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/7/2021
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2022)
MLB Service Time: 0.139
|December 14, 2014: Signed by the New York Yankees as an international free agent.
July 26, 2021: Traded by the New York Yankees with Hoy Park to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Clay Holmes.
November 7, 2021: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
December 20, 2022: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.