- Full name Alexi Casilla
- Born 07/20/1984 in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 5'9" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School Enedina Puello Renville
- Debut 09/01/2006
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Twins were eager to get rid of J.C. Romero in a December 2005 trade with the Angels, and they were equally happy to get Casilla, whom they believed could be a solid utility player or second baseman. After making a poor first impression by failing to make the Double-A team out of spring training, he wowed the organization with a strong season, leading the system in stolen bases. Casilla is a top-of-the-lineup igniter who showed defensive ability at shortstop and second base. He's a well-above-average runner. His quick hands work well at the plate, where he's a spray hitter who makes excellent contact, and in the field. He also has more than enough arm for shortstop and turns the double play well at second. Slight and not exceptionally strong, Casilla has an utter lack of power that limits his ceiling. It will be hard for him to be an impact hitter if he doesn't draw more walks, get on base and steal a lot of bases. Big league second baseman Luis Castillo becomes a free agent after the 2007 season, and Casilla is poised to take over for him after spending a year in Triple-A. He may have played his way into the future shortstop discussion as well.
J.C. Romero wore out his welcome with the Twins, who shipped him to the Angels for Casilla in December. Buried behind a slew of talented infielders led by Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick in the Los Angeles system, Casilla still has his work cut out for him after Minnesota has spent three early-round picks on shortstops in the last two years. He's a high-energy player with above-average speed who keeps the ball on the ground and does the little things to help produce runs. His swing is a little stiff but produces a little gap power. He runs the bases aggressively and has good instincts, finishing fourth in the Midwest League in steals despite playing in just 78 games. Casilla didn't play more because he opened the year filling injury holes at Double-A and Triple-A, then missed the end of the season after breaking his forearm. He was back playing in a low-level Dominican winter league by November. Casilla needs to improve defensively, but has the actions and aptitude to do so as he matures. He should spend most of this year in high Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
In a league dominated by pitching, Casilla was one of the few middle infielders who stood out. Acquired from the Angels in the offseason for J.C. Romero, Casilla started the season in Fort Myers and finished it in Minnesota. At the plate, Casilla takes advantage of his plus-plus speed by employing a running, slashing swing. He profiles as a leadoff hitter. He controls the strike zone and makes pitchers work, and once he reaches base, he's always a threat to steal. He has a knack for getting good jumps and reading pitchers. His weakness at the plate is his utter lack of power. Casilla played both second base and shortstop with the Miracle, and he's more polished at short right now. He has above-average range and arm strength. He's still figuring out his footwork and double-play pivot at second base. "He's very intelligent," Boles said. "You tell him to do something one time, he puts it into the game that night. He makes adjustments very quickly."
The Twins picked up Casilla from the Angels in exchange for J.C. Romero last December, and he played his way into a September callup after productive stints in the high Class A Florida State League and the EL. He has three plus tools in his speed, glove and arm, which allows him to make plays from deep in the hole at shortstop. "This guy is a cat," Portland manager Todd Claus said. "He approaches the ball extremely well and stays below the ball, gets underneath the hop. He can definitely play shortstop. He's a stronger version of (Diamondbacks prospect) Alberto Callaspo." Casilla employs a slap approach at the plate and sprays line drives into both alleys. He tries to lift the ball too often, but he squares up pitches from both sides of the plate.
Casilla was the best prospect on a young, overmatched Angels squad that won only 12 of 55 games. His skills across the board are similar to those of Alberto Callaspo, a gifted Double-A infielder in the Anaheim system. Casilla is a solid defender at both second base and shortstop, and an ideal leadoff hitter. He puts the ball in play consistently, and he can bunt and steal bases. He has little or no power.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Minnesota Twins in 2007
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Minnesota Twins in 2007
- Rated Best Defensive 2B in the Florida State League in 2006
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the Florida State League in 2006
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Florida State League in 2006