- Full name Welington Andres Castillo
- Born 04/24/1987 in San Isidro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 08/11/2010
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Cubs always have liked Castillo's arm and power potential, but a lack of work ethic slowed his progress and led to a .232/.275/.386 Double-A performance in 2009. He got the message and improved his effort and conditioning, leading to strong seasons and big league callups in each of the last two years. Thumb and hamstring injuries limited him to 79 games in 2011. Castillo has 28 homers in 131 Triple-A games, with his solid power coming more from strength than bat speed. He doesn't give away as many at-bats as he used to, but his impatient approach probably will prevent him from hitting for a high average. Castillo has well above-average arm strength and a quick release. He threw out 31 percent of basestealers in 2011, an acceptable rate though also a career low. His receiving and game-calling draw mixed reviews, but he has gotten better. He also has improved his English so he can better communicate with his pitchers. He has next to no speed. Castillo should serve as Geovany Soto's backup in Chicago in 2012. Soto is talented but also inconsistent and getting more expensive, and Castillo will get the chance to show what he might provide as a cheaper alternative.
There's debate within the organization whether Castillo or Robinson Chirinos is the system's best catching prospect. Castillo's proponents point out that he's three years younger, throws better and has proven himself in Triple-A. He even hit his first big league homer last September, capping a rebound from his worst year as a pro in 2009. Castillo matured last season and implemented suggestions from Cubs coaches. He stopped selling out for power at the plate and still slugged a career-high .498. He has average pop, though he lacks quality bat speed and gives away too many at-bats with his impatient approach, so he probably won't hit for much of an average. Defensively, Castillo improved his focus and cleaned up his receiving and game-calling, which still need further work. He has a stronger arm and quicker release than Chirinos, and he erased 39 percent of basestealers in 2010. He has little speed, though he was in better shape and played with more energy last year. It's easier to project Castillo developing into a regular than it is with Chirinos. Neither figures to displace Geovany Soto, and if Koyie Hill caddies for Soto again, then Castillo and Chirinos will share time in Iowa this year.
The Cubs debated which of their catchers to protect on their 40-man roster during the offseason, and Castillo ultimately got the nod over Robinson Chirinos and Steve Clevenger. Castillo earned his spot due to his youth and upside rather than his performance. After appearing in the Futures Game the year before, he turned in the worst full season of his career in 2009. Castillo's swing deteriorated as he sold out for power, and while he matched a career high with 11 homers, he set career lows with a .232 average and .275 on-base percentage. He never has shown much plate discipline or the ability to solve breaking pitches, so he might be more of a platoon player against lefthanders or a backup than a starter. Castillo's best tool is his arm strength, and he led the Southern League by throwing out 44 percent of basestealers last season. But he's a sloppy receiver who loses his concentration too often. He also let his body get soft in 2009, costing him some agility behind the plate. He offers little speed, even by catcher standards. He used to draw Yadier Molina comparisons but those seem way too optimistic at this point. Castillo will advance to Triple-A and attempt to get back on track in 2010.
After finally developing an all-star catcher in Geovany Soto, the Cubs have another possible regular on the way. Castillo was the Double-A Southern League's youngest catcher in 2008, when he also appeared in the Futures Game. He has drawn Yadier Molina comparisons since arriving in the United States in 2006. He has the ingredients to become Molina's equal behind the plate--and a more dangerous hitter. Castillo handles the bat well and has the strength to hit at least 10-15 homers annually in the majors. His plus arm is his standout tool, and he threw out 36 percent of basestealers last year. Castillo is still raw in many phases of the game. He doesn't control the strike zone yet and has yet to decipher breaking pitches, which is why righthanders manhandled him to the tune of .228/.283/.293 in 2008. His receiving skills are good but he loses focus too often, resulting in 23 errors and 34 passed balls over the last two years. He sits back too far from the plate and gets too flashy at times. He's a well-below-average runner. With Soto in Chicago, there's no need to rush Castillo. He'd benefit from a full season in Double-A to make several adjustments offensively and defensively.
After an aborted U.S. debut in 2006, during which he played in just three games before missing two months with a high ankle sprain, Castillo established himself as the best defensive catcher in the Midwest League as well as the Cubs system last season. A short, stocky catcher in the mold of Yadier Molina, Castillo has quick feet and a strong arm. He threw out 37 percent of basestealers in 2007 and also improved as a receiver, though he needs to be more consistent. He led MWL backstops with 15 errors and also committed 13 passed balls. He has the defensive package to be at least a big league backup, and Castillo's bat will determine if he eventually becomes a regular. He has some strength in his swing, though his approach and plate discipline are still works in progress. He's still figuring out how to hit breaking balls, which is why righties limited him to a .249 average and .690 OPS last year (compared to .323 with a .911 OPS against lefties). He's a below-average runner, no surprise for a catcher. Castillo will advance to high Class A this year and is at least two years away from being ready for the majors.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Chicago Cubs in 2012
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Chicago Cubs in 2008
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Midwest League in 2007
Background: The Cubs always liked Castillo's arm and power potential, but a questionable work ethic slowed his progress and led to a .232/.275/.386 Double-A performance in 2009. He improved his effort and conditioning, leading to strong seasons and big league callups the last two years. Thumb and hamstring injuries limited him to 79 games in 2011. Scouting Report: Castillo has 29 homers in 144 Triple-A games, with his power coming more from strength than bat speed. He doesn't give away as many at-bats as he used to, but his impatient approach will prevent him from hitting for a high average. Castillo has well above-average arm strength and a quick release. He threw out 31 percent of basestealers in 2011, an acceptable rate though a career low. His receiving and game-calling draw mixed reviews, but he has improved. He has next to no speed. The Future: Castillo should serve as Geovany Soto's backup in Chicago in 2012. Soto is talented but also inconsistent and getting more expensive, and Castillo will get the chance to show what he might provide as a cheaper alternative.