May 27, 2023: Luis Castillo seemed to take the home-run barrage personally. One day after Pittsburgh scorched Seattle pitchers for 11 runs -- including seven dingers -- the hard-throwing right-hander extinguished the Pirates’ bats while leading the Mariners to a 5-0 win at T-Mobile Park.
Castillo racked up 10 strikeouts against just one hit and two walks over six scoreless innings to lead Seattle to its sixth win over the last eight games.
“Luis Castillo getting back on a roll,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It was awesome today.”
The Mariners' bullpen of Gabe Speier, Matt Brash, Trevor Gott and Justin Topa finished what Castillo started, as the group allowed only one hit and one walk the rest of the way. Topa worked around a leadoff walk with three consecutive strikeouts in the ninth inning.
“I saw they came out aggressive,” Castillo said of Pittsburgh’s approach at the plate. “So in my mind, I said, ‘Okay, I’ve just got to throw a variety of different pitches.’ And that's what I did throughout the whole game. I threw a variety of pitches and it seemed to work. I'm sure that threw off the plan of them coming out aggressive.”
The 10 K’s tied Castillo’s highest mark as a Mariner, matching his total from Aug. 27, 2022, against Cleveland. The 30-year-old hurler now has five scoreless outings of at least five innings pitched, which is tied with Drew Rasmussen of the Rays and Kevin Gausman of the Blue Jays for the most in the Majors so far this season.
“We’ve seen him a lot and the changeup is elite,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Castillo. “He had it today. We’ve seen him in our division when he pitched for the Reds, and seen him pitch good, but I think today’s the best changeup that he had.
“We just couldn’t get anything going because he was really good.”
Pittsburgh shortstop Tucupita Marcano led off the game with a double to left field, but Castillo wouldn’t allow another hit during his time on the mound. In all, Seattle’s pitchers allowed a mere two hits on Saturday -- a vast improvement from the 15 surrendered.
“Pittsburgh obviously swung the bat really good last night,” Servais said. “The seven home runs, and then they came out today, the first hit of the game -- it's a double. Then [Castillo] just turned up the intensity right in the first inning. Not many guys can turn the dial up like he can. He's a special talent and a super competitor.” (C Weston - MLB.com - May 27, 2023)
|DOB:||12/12/1992||Agent:||Republik Sport agency|
|Birth City:||Bani, D.R.|
|Draft:||2012 - Giants - Free agent - Out of the D.R.|
In 2012, Castillo was signed by the Giants, via scout Jonathan Bautista, as an international free agent. He was 19, which is old for a Latino signing. But he moved quickly through their system.
In 2015, Baseball America rated Luis as the 26th-best prospect in the Giants organization.
Coming to the Marlins, Castillo had his best season in 2016, and was listed as the second-best prospect in the Miami farm system in the spring of 2017, just before being dealt to the Reds organization.
In 2016, the Marlins honored Luis Castillo as the organization's Pitcher of the Year. He is ranked No. 5 in the Marlins organization.
Luis displays intelligence along with a solid work ethic.
Castillo is nicknamed "La Piedra," which translates to "The Rock" or "The Stone."
July 2019: Castillo represented the Reds as a first-time All-Star. Castillo hurled a 1-2-3 4th inning. Luis set the American League down in order in the 4th, including a pair of strikeouts to start the frame.
Sept 27, 2021: Castillo was placed on family emergency leave list and his next start was pushed back.
July 2022: Castillo was named to the MLB All-Star team.
The Yankees want Castillo, the Dodgers want Castillo, every contender wants Castillo. Watching him Thursday (The All-Star game) night, holding the highest-scoring team in the majors hitless for 5 1/3 innings — throwing 100 or more pitches for the ninth straight start — his appeal jumped out like one of his 98-mph fastballs, two-seam or four-seam version.Several Yankees noted Castillo’s increased use of his four-seam fastball, which produced eight of his 11 swings-and misses and 16 of his 25 called strikes. Carpenter, who struck out swinging on a 98-mph four-seamer to end the sixth, said the four-seamer, “is playing way up. It wasn’t a big pitch for him in the past, but he’s getting big-time swing and miss with it now. And his changeup is still elite.”Reds manager David Bell describes Castillo as “one of my favorites,” citing the pitcher’s smile, and his warm, light-hearted personality. The Reds marvel at Castillo’s talent. Veteran left-hander Mike Minor said when he plays catch with the righty, “I don’t understand where gets his power. He barely lifts his leg, and it’s 99.” The players also praise Castillo as a teammate. Minor, in his first year with the club, said the pitcher doesn’t act like a star, showing up early, helping younger players, “just doing little things around the clubhouse.”“Luis is the same guy every single day, win, lose, whatever. He works the same. He thinks the same. And you just don’t see that very often,”Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson said. “Players are up and down. They’re emotional. They’re on this rollercoaster. Luis is never on a rollercoaster.”
Shortstop Kyle Farmer, describing Castillo’s attitude as, “care but care less,” expressed one concern about his teammate, at least when it comes to the possibility of him joining the Yankees.
“I keep telling him: ‘Hey man, they’re going to make you cut your hair if you come here,’” Farmer said, referring to Castillo’s dreadlocks. “He definitely doesn’t want to do it. There’s a lot of attitude in the hair, and I don’t think he wants to let it go.”
Castillo said, stone-faced, “Those are the decisions that are done by the team. If it gets to the point where I have to cut my hair, I will.” He has heard the rumors about him getting traded to the Yankees, but showed little interest in addressing such talk, saying he was worried only about his pitching.
His days with the Reds are numbered. Some other team will enjoy counting on him soon.(Rosenthal-TheAthletic.com-July 15th, 2022)
2012: Castillo was signed by the Giants, via scout Jonathan Bautista, as an international free agent, out of the D.R.
Dec 2014: The Marlins acquired Castillo from the Giants as part of the package for Casey McGehee.
July 29, 2016: Padres traded RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Colin Rea, RHP Tayron Guerrero and cash to the Marlins; acquiring RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Carter Capps, and 1B Josh Naylor.
Three days later, on August 1, 2016: The Marlins sent an injured Rea back to the Padres, acquiring Castillo instead.
Jan 19, 2017: The Reds traded RHP Dan Straily to the Marlins; acquiring RHP Austin Brice, CF Isaiah White, and Castillo.
Jan 15, 2021: Castillo and the Reds avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $4.2 million.
Feb 1, 2022: The Reds organization signed free agent Castillo.
July 29, 2022: The Reds traded RHP Luis to the Mariners for SS Noelvi Marte (rated the Reds’ new No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline), SS Edwin Arroyo (No. 6), RHP Levi Stoudt (No. 15) and RHP Andrew Moore.
Sept. 24, 2022: The Mariners and Castillo agreeed to a five-year, $108 Million extension. The deal comes with a vesting option that could take the deal to six years and $133 million, triggered for $25 million for 2028 if he pitches at least 180 innings in ‘27.
• Castillo received a $7 million signing bonus, and he’ll earn $10 million next season in what would’ve been his final year of eligibility for salary arbitration. Then, from 2024-27, he’ll earn $22.75 million per season.
• It includes a full no-trade clause for the first three years, and there are no player opt outs at any point during the deal.
• The club option is unique, and it basically gives the Mariners some health protection. It’s for one year and $5 million for 2028 and can only be exercised if Castillo undergoes surgery to repair his UCL (Tommy John surgery) and misses at least 130 days at any point from 2025-27. It’s essentially a safety net for the club should Castillo miss an extended period then return at an elite level before becoming eligible for free agency.
Castillo has a 95-100 mph 4-seam FASTBALL and a 93-97 mph 2-seam SINKER with arm-side tailing action, getting ground balls. He has a hard, 83-87 mph SLIDER that has a lot of depth to it, acting like a curve and becoming a 60 grade pitch. He uses the slider vs. righthanders, mostly.
He also has a great 89 mph CHANGEUP for a weapon vs. lefties, who often chase it out of the zone. It is a 70 grade pitch, and one of MLB's best! (Spring, 2020)
Luis has easy velocity with a smooth righthanded three-quarters delivery that aids his heater to jump on hitters, though it can come in straight at times.
A high-energy, wiry athlete with incredible arm speed, Castillo must remain direct to the plate and avoid flying open to have big league command. (Spring, 2018)
Castillo displays good athleticism. He also gets good marks for is makeup, and the ability to overcome in-game adversity.
In 2016, Castillo was the Marlins' Pitching Prospect of the Year by MLBPipeline.com.
June 23, 2017: Castillo was the 11th different starter that season for a Reds rotation that had the highest ERA in the Majors with the least amount of innings pitched. But with his skipping a level for his callup from Double-A Pensacola, Castillo wasn't expected to be a savior in his big league debut against the Nationals.
All Castillo had to do was show the stuff that made the Reds want to trade for the prospect over the winter. In that regard, the righthander delivered. On the other hand, it was an uneven first outing. In a no-decision during a 6-5 Reds loss in 10 innings to Washington, he threw 93 pitches over five innings with two earned runs, five hits and five walks allowed and five strikeouts. Both runs came via home runs. He also notched three double plays.
"I don't think that was his best there," Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco said. "I've seen him whenever I was down in Pensacola for a couple of weeks [on a rehab assignment], he was just firing strikes in there. Everybody can see the stuff he has and kind of dream on that. I've definitely seen him with better command. I would say that's kind of uncharacteristic."
Castillo, 24, actually took his first big league at-bat before he threw his first pitch. Nine men batted in the top of the first inning and he was staked to a 4-0 lead. Once he took the mound, Castillo's fastball was as advertised. His four-seamer averaged 98 mph according to Statcast, with a top speed of 100 mph.
"I'm happy with the way he threw the ball," Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters. "As he gets settled in here, I think we'll see something that resembles more of what we saw in Double-A as far as pitch efficiency. That will go a long way. That will allow him to stay in the game longer."
"This was a dream come true," Castillo told reporters. "I was waiting for that moment ever since the first time I pitched in professional baseball." (M Sheldon - MLB.com - June 24, 2017)
Luis keeps his emotions in check. It is enjoyable just to watch, he's so poised. He attacks hitters in a special way.
2017: Castillo was called up at the end of June—after the Reds were already in the basement of the NL Central. And he was shut down at the beginning of September after setting a career high in innings pitched. But if you watched his 15 starts, you got to see a fantastically exciting hurler, one who may reminds people of a young Felix Hernandez.
Castillo's average fastball is just a few ticks below 98. That's good, but in 2017, it seemed every pitcher had the kind of fastball that used to be thought of as myth. Fortunately, that's not his best pitch. He also throws a dynamite change that batters hit just .124 against and had the 10th-lowest wOBA against in the Majors. (MLB-Cut4-Nov. 11, 2017)
2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 50.6% of the time; Sinker 11.6% of the time.; Change 22.6%; and Slider 15.1% of the time.
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 35.5% of the time, his Sinker 21.7%; Change 26.4%; and Slider 16.5% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 96.4 mph, Sinker 96.1, Change 86.8, and Slider 84.1 mph.
2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 30% of the time, his Sinker 20.7%; Change 32.5%; and Slider 17% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 96.5 mph, Sinker 96.6, Change 87.3, and Slider 85.9 mph.
2020 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 26.1 of the time, his Sinker 26%; Change 29.1%; and Slider 18.7% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 97.7 mph, Sinker 97.8, Change 88.5, and Slider 87.1 mph.
2022 Season Pitch Usage/Avg. Velo: Fastball 33.2% 97.2 mph; Sinker 24.2% - 97 mph; Change 21.6% - 88.5 mph; Slider 20.8% - 86.6 mph.
July 2019: Castillo had had eight starts in which he threw at least five innings, allowed two hits or fewer and allowed two runs or fewer—a Reds franchise record. In his first three starts, he joined Randy Johnson and Rube Marquard as the only MLB pitchers to have three straight games of at least eight strikeouts and no more than two hits in each game since 1893.
Sept 20, 2019: Of the career-high 218 strikeouts that Castillo has recorded this 2019 season, a Major League-leading 155 have come via his lethal changeup. The pitcher with the second-highest total has less than half of that amount.
It was only the fifth time in 31 starts that Castillo gave up multiple home runs in a game. Of the 22 homers he’s allowed overall, seven came on his four-seam fastball, six on his slider, five on his changeup and four on his two-seam fastball.
April 1, 2020: Why Castillo's changeup is so nasty: 48.0% whiff rate. Castillo’s changeup kept hitters off balance all season. Even with it being his most-used pitch, at 32.5%, batters looked nowhere near ready for it when he threw it.
Like Strasburg, Castillo sits on the higher end of changeup velocity at an average of 87.2 mph. He induced a 48% whiff rate on swings against his changeup last season, the highest of any starter to get at least 150 swings against their changeups in 2019. That tells you the pitch is doing its job: catching batters off guard and keeping them off balance and swinging and missing.
Castillo had 155 strikeouts on changeups last season -- nobody else had more than 76. He had a 30.8% put-away rate on two-strike changeups, meaning that almost a third of the time, his two-strike changeups resulted in strikeouts.
A whopping 148 of Castillo’s 155 strikeouts on his changeup were swinging. Hard to pick up, hard to make contact—nasty. (S Langs - MLB.com - April 1, 2020)
Luis' changeup is a plus-plus, 70-grade pitch, on the 20-80 scouting scale. But it is Castillo’s third pitch that will determine his future.
With the Marlins, Castillo threw a curveball, but the Reds switched him to a slider during big league camp in 2017. Evaluators say he should bring an improved CURVE back. (Spring, 2020)
2019-2020 Seasons: Castillo is one of the brightest young stars in the sport. Across the last two seasons (44 starts) he has posted a combined 3.41 FIP, a 140 ERA+, and 315 strikeouts. The right-hander hits the high 90s with his four seamer and sinker and gets hitters to whiff at his changeup. Castillo doesn’t give into at-bats and has consistently been able to pitch through the sixth inning.
Castillo’s changeup is a masterful pitch, and in 2020 it was just as good as it always is. Alongside the 46.2% chase rate, it also produced a 22.8% SwStr rate, a 32.7% CSW, and a .276 wOBA against.
It is such a consistently good pitch, and it’s one of the reasons why Castillo is such a great pitcher.
2021 Season: Castillo had a 1-8 record and a 7.22 ERA through his first 11 starts of the season, a befuddling stretch for one of the most talented pitchers in baseball. His changeup wasn’t drawing nearly as many swings-and-misses. And the Reds’ ace was in the worst rut of his career.
Teammates raved about how Castillo kept his typical positivity despite his poor start to the season. There were small moments when he showed some frustration, but he never lost his confidence. He always felt he was one start from turning things around.
"To finish the year the way he did, not that we need to know any more about Luis Castillo, I think it was just very impressive how he kept his confidence and kept working," Bell said. "I do believe he got better through that time and finishing strong going into next season is pretty exciting to see how that develops."
Since the beginning of June, Castillo looked like an ace again. He closed the season with a 2.73 ERA across his final 22 starts, striking out 144 in 135.2 innings.
Castillo was one of the unluckiest pitchers in the league in terms of run support and he totaled a league-worst 16 losses. It’s strange to say a pitcher who had an 8-16 record and a 3.98 ERA should be happy about his season, but Castillo delivered for the final four months of the year.
As of the start of the 2021 season, Luis had a career record of 32-33 with 3.62 ERA, having allowed 66 home runs and 423 hits in 519 innings, with 578 strikeouts.
- 2022 Season: In 11 regular-season starts with Seattle, Castillo posted a 4-2 record with a 3.17 ERA. In 65 1/3 innings pitched, he struck out 77 batters with 17 walks. After beating the Yankees in New York in his first start with the Mariners, he faced them again his next start, which came at T-Mobile Park. Castillo was brilliant, tossing eight scoreless innings, allowing just three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. The Mariners eventually won the game 1-0 in the 13th inning.
In the postseason, Castillo tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings vs. the Blue Jays, allowing one hit with five strikeouts. He came back to pitch seven innings and allowing three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts against the Astros.
- 2023 Nastiest pitch on the Mariners - Luis Castillo's changeup: The Mariners ace throws one of the best wipeout changeups in baseball, averaging 88.4 mph with 17.3 inches of horizontal break, making it the perfect complement to his two-seamer, which averages 96.9 mph with 17.8 inches of horizontal break in the same direction. (D Adler - MLB.com - Feb 8, 2023)
- March 23-May 9, 2022: Reds ace Luis Castillo will not be able to take the ball to pitch on Opening Day and possibly not during the first time through the rotation because of a right shoulder issue. "I felt a little bit of soreness in my shoulder once we got into training and when I got here,” Castillo said via translator Jorge Merlos. “We’re just working on it to get it better and to be ready for the rest of the season.”