10:40am: Badler has a new piece on Castillo, who has put on about 20 pounds since leaving Cuba and beginning a training regimen in the Dominican Republic. Castillo is expected to sign shortly after his showcase and could even potentially help a big league club late in the season, Badler writes. His newest article provides a pair of Castillo videos — one of a batting practice session and the other a compilation of game footage.
9:54am: Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo will host a showcase for interested clubs next Saturday (July 26) in the Miami area, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN first reported (on Twitter) on Monday.
Castillo was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball last month and quickly latched on with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports. The 27-year-old Castillo has also been unblocked by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and is therefore eligible to sign with any club.
Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote last month that Castillo isn’t the same type of impact talent we’ve seen come out of Cuba recently, but scouts believe he has Major League ability. The center fielder/right fielder stands at 5’9″ and is listed at 185 pounds, and his best tool is plus-plus speed according to Badler. He’s a right-handed hitter with a line-drive stroke that will produce more doubles and triples than homers, Badler adds, though he notes that some evaluators think of him as a fourth outfielder rather than a starting-caliber player.
We first heard about Castillo back in January, prior to the processing of the paperwork that eventually made him a free agent. The Orioles and Dodgers have been linked as teams that will scout Castillo, while Wolfson reports that the Twins are not among the teams that have interest.
Sounds like a great option for the Mets. Platoon partner with Captain Kirk in left field until Nimmo and Conforto are ready, and in the meantime allows the team to purge the bench of Abreu and Chris Young.