2018 Blue Jays Highlights: Maximo Castillo

It’s time for me to take a look back at some of Toronto’s less heralded minor league prospects and how they fared in 2018.

 

The Blue Jays system is a few arms lighter this offseason after the loss of Jordan Romano and Travis Bergen in the Rule 5 Draft, Angel Perdomo free agency, and Jose Fernandez via waivers. While their loss is unfortunate, it opens the door for other young men to show what they’ve got. Maximo Castillo will be one of those young men.

 

Signed for 10k out of Venezuela as an international free agent in 2015, Maximo Castillo made his professional debut on June 4th, 2016 as a member of the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays. His time with the DSL Blue Jays was short-lived, four appearances to be exact. On June 29th, Castillo made his Gulf Coast League debut. In 9 GCL starts, Maximo Castillo posted a 2-3 record with a 4.62 ERA while striking out 29 and walking 13 in 39 innings. The 17-yr-old finished with a 6.69K/9 and 3.00BB/9 with the GCL Blue Jays and earned a start with Bluefield Blue Jays in 2017.

 

Maximo made 10 starts for Bluefield, winning 6 games and losing none. He posted a tidy 3.80 ERA while improving his strikeout (9.89K/9) and walk rates (1.33BB/9). In 47.1IP, 10 starts, Castillo struck out 52 batters and walked just 7 while posting a 1.29 WHIP. His strong 2017 numbers allowed the Blue Jays to challenge the 19-yr-old by assigning him to full-season A-Ball.

 

The 6-foot-2, 255 lbs righty made his Lugnuts debut on April 5th with one inning out of the bullpen. He would piggy-starts with Yennsy Diaz, Donnie Sellers, and Colton Laws to start the season. Castillo became a fixture in Lansing’s rotation in June, taking the mound every 5th day the rest of the way.

 

Castillo got stronger as the year went on. He gained a tick or two on his fastball which now sits closer to the mid-90s than the low-90s. He shows good sink on his fastball and flashes an inconsistent curve and change which also have impressive movement. Castillo struggled in mid-July (July 8th-19th), losing three straight starts which pushed his ERA from 5.35 up to 5.84. He would not register another loss over his final 8 starts, picking up 3 wins and lowering his ERA to a respectable 4.52.

 

Overall, Maximo Castillo made 22 starts in 28 appearances. He posted a 10-5 record with a .381 xFIP. His 115 strikeouts (7.88K/9) and 42 walks(2.88BB/9) in 131.1 innings were easily careered highs but also tops on the Lugnuts.

 

Highlights

On May 30th, Maximo Castillo struck out 9 batters, walked one while allowing 4 hits in an ND. He needed just 65 pitches to get through 5.0 innings, throwing 46 for strikes. He struck out 8 batters in 6.0 IP on August 15th and 7 batters in 5.0IP on August 20th. His best stretch of baseball came after allowing 8 runs on 8 hits over 3.0IP on June 10th. Castillo didn’t allow a run over his next three starts, allowing 8 hits over 16 innings with 5 walks and 14 strikeouts. He didn’t allow run until the 5th inning against West Michigan on July 3rd.

 

His longest out was 6 innings (7x).

 

Most pitches he threw was 97 on July 30th but he was consistently over 80 pitches. He also left the game without allowing a run in 5 starts.

 

Maximo’s best month was August. He posted a 2-0 record with a 2.73 ERA while striking out 32 and walking just 6 in 33.0IP. He was 4-1 in June but finished with a 4.50 ERA.

 

Lows

Consistency was an issue. Consistency with his change and curve more than his FB. He does a good job of repeating his delivery so reps should help clear up these issues.

 

The month of May was ugly. Castillo posted an ERA of 6.75 in 6 games, 3 starts. July saw Castillo allow 6 of the 12 longballs he surrendered in 2018.  Opponents batted .274 off Castillo, as he surrendered 142 hits over 131.1IP. He was likely helped out by a healthy .332 BABIP.

 

His shortest start of the season came on May 20th when he allowed 8 runs on 5 hits, 2 HB, 2BB, and registered just one strikeout in 1.2IP. He also allowed 8 runs on June 10th and 6 runs on May 15th and July 13th.

 

Splits

Maximo Castillo finished the first half of the season with a record of 5-2 and the second half of the season with a record of 5-3; however, his first-half ERA was 6.39 and his second-half ERA was 3.12 ERA.

 

What was the difference?

 

Hits allowed and maybe walks allowed to. Maximo lowered his WHIP from 1.60 to 1.25 and opponents managed to hit just .257 in the second half versus .303 in the first half.

 

The 19-yr-old righty held left-handed batters to a .252 batting and just one HRA. Right-handed batters batted .288 of Castillo and hit 11 HR.

 

What to Expect in 2019

I want to say that Castillo starts 2019 with the Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays but I feel he could get the Yennsy Diaz treatment. Diaz spent 2017 with the Lugnuts, posting a 5-2, 4.79 ERA over 16 starts. He returned to Lansing in 2018 and dominated in 9 starts (5-1, 2.08 ERA). Castillo threw more A-Ball innings in 2018 than Diaz did in 2017 but Castillo is two years younger and could use a strong April and May to boost his confidence before heading to Flordia.

 

Another factor is the high number of 23 to 24-year-old starting pitchers in the low minors.

 

Whether he starts in Dunedin or not, Castillo will finish there. Castillo is not Rule 5 eligible until after the 2020 season so the Blue Jays have the luxury of developing him level by level.

 

 



*****
HEAD ON OVER TO THE JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS STORE AND GET SOME GREAT SWAG THAT YOU WILL LOOK GREAT IN AND YOU CAN FEEL GREAT ABOUT.
YOU CAN ALSO HEAD TO OUR JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS FUNDRAISING PAGE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION DIRECTLY TO ALS CANADA.
*****

THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND INSTAGRAM. LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO

 

 

 

Ryan Mueller

Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn't cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I'm more right.