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Cubs outright Lendy Castillo to AAA

Cubs outright Lendy Castillo to AAA

We were having such great discussion yesterday with regard to potential breakout prospects that we let this news slide a little.  In all honesty, it was a bit anticlimactic.  Lendy Castillo was DFA'd back on January 26th and waived several days after that.  It was a matter of waiting it out.

With less than a week to go before pitchers and catchers report, the timing was about right.  Roster spots are scarce and it's really tough to justify taking a chance on someone like Castillo at this point in the game.  Castillo posted a 7.88 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 6.8 BB/9 last season with the Cubs and doesn't look like a guy who is going to help much early in 2013 -- if at all next season.  A team would have to be sold on Castillo's long term potential, but as the days went by, it seemed that no team seemed sold enough  to be willing to sacrifice a 40 man roster spot.

That is good news for the Cubs.  They need all the good arms they can get in their system.

Castillo is most certainly a live armed pitcher, able to hit 97 mph at times but command was a big issue last season.  Not only did he walk too many hitters, but he also often caught too much of the plate with his slider.

Removing Castillo from the 40 man roster takes the pressure off having him one step away from the big leagues.  He will very likely spend the entire year in the minors working to refine his breaking pitch, change speeds better, and work on his location.

The biggest questions are where and in what role?  The fact that Castillo was assigned to the AAA roster doesn't necessarily mean he'll pitch there.  If he does, it likely means that the Cubs will pitch him in relief.  If they believe he can be a starter, then he'll start a level or two lower as he will need to work more on his secondaries against less advanced hitters.

The guess here is that his ultimate role is in the bullpen because he throws everything hard and he has the kind of mentality that seems best suited for the bullpen.  The Cubs liked the way he didn't get easily rattled and kept his poise despite facing hitters that were much more experienced.

The Cubs roster still stands at 41 and the Cubs have yet to officially announce the signing of OF Scott Hairston.  With pitchers and catchers reporting in just a few days, a decision is expected soon.

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  • fb_avatar

    Question: Was Lendy legitimately hurt last year? Or was that a roster-trick to keep him, without exposing him to ML hitters?

    The Rule 5 system benefits players overall, because it prevents teams from stashing ML-ready players indefinitely in the minors, but I think there is no doubt Lendy's progress was hurt last year. He didn't belong in the majors, and really needed another couple years. David Patton never seemed to recover from his experience.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with Peralta; if the D-Backs keep him, there is no doubt in my mind he'll develop an "injury" requiring an extensive rehab assignment

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    In reply to Zonk:

    PS: Though we have to acknowledge that many of us would accept the "abuse" of being paid ML minimum for a year ($480K)

  • In reply to Zonk:

    A little bit from column A and a lot from column B.

    It really did hurt his development and it's a big draw back of the Rule 5 in general. That said, he now has one year MLB service time and all the benefits that go with it. If he had stayed in the Phillies system in Class A or AA, there was no guarantee he'd have ever gotten that.

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    Hey John (and everyone else), who do you think the Cubs drop in order to add Hairston?

    Campana seems obvious, but he's still here.....maybe Cubs feel they need to keep him, because he can play ML CF right away.

    Besides him, the only ones I can think of are Raley/Rusin. Who would you rank better? I think many teams are in a 40-man crunch right now, so either one might sneak through, given their low ceilings

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Hes the only true CF'er on the roster other than Brett Jackson and Matt Szcur, both of whom they want to keep in the minors, so that's likely what's keeping him around. Still the Cubs are filled with OF'ers right now and it makes sense that if you add another OF'er to a full roster, you should drop an OFer to make room. The Cubs already have more OF'ers on their 40 man than any other team in the NL Central and more than most in baseball.

    I think the Cubs like Raley better than Rusin, but as many have mentioned, Rusin cannot be dropped right now because of some technicality. Barring a trade , I think they'll keep both.

  • One of Raley/Rusin, I forget which, can not be dropped from the 40 man roster until the end of spring training, because of the rules concerning the time he was brought up.

    I believe it is Rusin, which is too bad, because I think that Raley is the better of the two because he is the more athletic of the two. I believe he was mostly a position player in college.

  • I like it. Another timely waiver drop that allows the team to hang onto a potentially useful talent. Other than losing Beliveau, the front office has been pretty smart to make these moves when they do.

    I have thought Campana was the likeliest candidate for months now. Clearly someone in the organization likes the little guy more than I do. I wouldn't be surprised to see him survive again once they make room for Hairston.

  • John, any trip planned to spring training this year?

  • In reply to cubsfan:

    None planned, but won't rule out a spontaneous last minute trip. Fall more likely, though.

  • wow Mayo ranked Jae Hoon Ha the Cubs 12th best prospect, now that's a surprise there... His defense is definitely plus, the question is his bat, he could be a nice 4th OF... But I'm surprised to see him that high and in front of guys like Jeimer Candelario, Duane Underwood and Gioskar Amaya... I do like Trey Martin there tho.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks Caps, working on another big prospect piece. Its that time of year!

    I like Ha but realistically he's a 4/5 OF'er who comes in for defense.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah same here, if Ha was ready for the bigs, I would've preferred him over Sappelt because of his defense and ability to play a plus CF to platoon with DeJesus, but I think 12th best prospect is a bit of a stretch, I hope Mayo got this one right tho'.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Just checked Mayo's list but it says 2012 at the top. I don't think it's updated yet.

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    In reply to Caps:

    Agree, way too high. He doesn't make a lot of sense ahead of Candelario, Amaya, even Vitters.

    Also: Vogelbach behind Szczur doesn't make much sense. I guess you can make the case for putting him behind Maples, Villaneuva, and Lake but -- given respective age and accomplishments -- I sure wouldn't.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    And Zych completely out of the top 20 is almost criminal.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think Mayo is taking much priority in the positional value and raw ability, which is why Jae Hoon Ha ranks ahead of Candelario, Amaya and others and then Maples ranks ahead of Pierce Johnson, despite the fact that Pierce Johnson is way more polished, then you have Lake ranked in front of Szczur, Vogelbach and others that are more polished than him and have put better numbers.

    The top 10 I essentially agree with, just maybe not in that exact order, but from 11 to 20 I have some questions... I said yesterday I was a fan of Candelario, but I'm also puzzled by the fact that some sources like Baseball America think highly of him, but others like Mayo and Fangraphs are not quite impressed.

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    In reply to Caps:

    The issue there: if this is all about position value, where is Marco Hernandez? Never been a fan of Mayo, and this ranking just drops him lower in my estimation.

    The other thing about Maples -- that ranking represents a big jump from last year when he was 12th and, notably, below Johnson. What about his 10 innings last season led to the huge jump in expectations?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Very good points... I never liked or disliked Mayo's rankings, I've always been more of a Baseball Prospectus/Baseball America fan when it comes to rankings, but I don't think I'm too fond of Mayo's lists for 2013, I was even wondering why Jose Iglesias was ranked as the 96th best prospect over so many others and this top 20 rank also has me wondering about some things... That's a good point about Marco Hernandez if positional value is highly considered.

    And here's to add to your Maples point... How come Maples made a jump from 12th to 6th based on 10 innings of work and lots of walks, but then Ben Wells completely fell off the top 20, despite the fact that Ben Wells reportedly was pitching in the mid 90's range early last season before his injury?

  • In reply to Caps:

    One of the problems (and the fun) with rating prospects is that after the first 5 or 6, you are rating prospects with major flaws or injury question marks, and you have to add in your subjective views of how important the flaw is, how likely is the prospect to overcome or mitigate the flaw, or just in general, how much they will improve with time and maturity. Everyone places different values on each, and none can be proven.

    A good example is Brett Jackson. He plays a high-value position, and plays it with good defensive tools, coupled with power and offensive speed as well. But he has one MAJOR flaw. He has an abysmal strike out problem. Each person that rates him has to decide for himself whether or not he will overcome the strike out problem, and to what extent. Someone that believes that he will be able to get his stats down to about 28% will rate him as a tip top prospect. Someone else that believes he will stay up at the 38% level will rate him as a complete washout. And only time will tell who is right.

    Another example, of course, is Vogelbach. If you believe he can lose enough weight, and keep it off, and play left field acceptably, he goes to the top of the list. If you believe he is a DH only, he drops substantially. Neither is provable at this point.

    The same applies to Ha. He is an excellent center fielder. And since he was signed, many scouts have said that he could grow into 18 - 22 HR power. IF he does, he will have earned a ranking much higher than 12 in the current list. If he fails to develop, he will be a 4th / 5th OF at best, and should have been near the bottom.

    Time will tell. At this point, just about everyone's view is equally plausible.

    Except mine, of course, which is right.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    In addition to the good points made about position value, I think the fundamental challenge facing those who rank prospects is whether to rate the ceiling or floor. Ha had had success through the levels and we can be pretty sure that he's at least a bench player at the MLB level. Candelario is 18, and for all we know may be a better car salesman than baseball player. A lot of uncertainty about guys below AA/high A.

  • Hey John, did you click on Archives and selected 2013?

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2013/

    See if that link works... It does say 2013 for me.

  • In reply to Caps:

    After you go to that link, then just click on 20 by Team and it should take you to the new list.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I followed that path earlier and originally got the 2012 list, but actually just went back a few minutes ago, tried it again, and it does say 2013... and the order is updated.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Great, I'll read your piece when it comes out!

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    Mayo's list of top 20 by team is being released all throughout the week. MLB.com click players, top prospects, then 20 by team. I was also surprised to see Ha ranked 12th due to the fact that he seems to grade out as a soild 4th-5th defensive minded outfielder. Other than that, the rest of his top 20 looks about right to me...Except no Paniagua? Great work John. I always enjoy reading your work.

  • In reply to Mark Manser:

    One thing about these rankings, Cubs top 3 are definitely at the top, the rest of maybe 15-25 players can be largely interchangeable. I prefer to go by results, watch the way players handle success/failure, than by raw ability. Lots of great athletes-I prefer guys who are athletic who know how to play the game to win.

  • Isn't the 40-man roster at 40 now, meaning they only have to drop 1 to make room for Hairston? Or do they need to still clear two spots?

  • In reply to Diggs:

    1 spot for Hairston.

  • Well, we get to see if Castillo can develop into a legitimate ML pitcher, the right way. The raw stuff is there.

  • Not saying it's gonna happen in AAA, but I would think the Cubs try and stretch out Lendy and see what he's got as a starter. If he doesn't pan out, back to a reliever. No harm, no foul.

  • Just recieved my new Cub's vineline issue on the Cubs top prospects
    Must read

  • When he was drafted, the thought then was that he could be a starter in the future

  • In reply to DaveP:

    He still can. I just think RP is more likely. But I guess that's not exactly going out on a limb. That's the case with most pitching prospects.

  • fb_avatar

    Great news about Castillo! I figured he would slide through for the reasons you stated above.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I became much more optimistic once a few days passed.

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