Casillas Are Sizzling Siblings
Brotherly duo lights up the radar gun
SAN FRANCISCO—Righthander Santiago Casilla had a tremendous year. The 29-year-old became an integral part of the Giants bullpen after signing as a minor league free agent last winter, posting a 1.95 ERA in 52 appearances and blowing his 98 mph fastball past hitters in the playoffs.
Oh, and he earned a World Series ring. Can it get any better than that?
"Yeah, my little brother," Casilla said. "He's is a better pitcher than I was at his age."
Casilla's brother Jose had quite a year, too. Pitching for low Class A Augusta, he was 4-1, 1.16 in 46 appearances covering 54 innings. The 21-year-old recorded 14 saves and used a power sinker to induce nearly 2.5 ground balls for every fly ball.
"He knows how to pitch," the elder Casilla said. "He's going to be here soon, you watch."
Big brother is doing his part. Santiago overcame his control issues that plagued him in parts of four seasons in the Athletics organization, but it was his newfound command of a spike curveball that turned him into a dependable late-inning weapon for the Giants.
Casilla picked up the spike curve from a teammate in the Dominican League. He's passing it on to Jose, who throws consistently in the 94-96 mph range and has shown the ability to work multiple innings.
Jose Casilla made a postseason impression, too. The Giants added him to the roster at high Class A San Jose for the California League playoffs so both were part of a Giants title.
• First baseman Brandon Belt and second baseman Charlie Culberson were selected for the Rising Stars Game, matching top performers from the Arizona Fall League. General manager Brian Sabean said Belt could force his way onto the major league Opening Day roster, but likely would make his debut later in the summer.
• Nick Liles, a seventh-round pick in 2009 out of Western Carolina, led the South Atlantic League with 162 hits at Augusta. Liles, 22, played in the middle infield in the Rookie-level Arizona League after signing in 2009, but established himself as Augusta's everyday left fielder.