Rusney Castillo Impresses in his Workout

Rusney Castillo worked out for scouts today and the results were impressive.  Castillo worked out at the University of Miami.  The 27 year old outfielder played for Cuba’s Cuban National Series for five years from 2008 to 2012 and defected last September.  He has been described by some scouts as Brett Gardner with more power.  All-stars Kenny Lofton and Jacoby Ellsbury have also been mentioned as comparisons.

His best tool is his speed and it was on display today.  Scouts at the workout placed it somewhere between 60 and 80, with many putting a 70 on it.  The knock on him, though, is that he ran in a straight line and teams didn’t get to see him run the bases.

He did surprise some of the scouts on hand with his hit tool and power.  He was hitting the ball with authority to all fields and had a couple long home runs.

The hitting is going to be important because his position is a bit of an issue.  Reports from the workout suggest that he is not a major league shortstop.  In the outfield, his position will depend largely on his arm.  Unfortunately, the scouts there were not impressed and the best grades were a 50, though one industry source we talked to described it as “fringe.”  Our source went on to say, “He’s a left fielder.”

That is potentially problematic as all of the comparisons above are elite center fielders.  They would lose significant value at a corner.  So, can the bat carry a corner position?  Some scouts believe it can.  The Cubs are in a unique position in this race.  If they have faith in both Javier Baez and Kris Bryant to make it to the majors soon, they have an infield of Rizzo-Baez-Castro-Bryant.  Baez, Bryant, and Rizzo all have 30+ home run potential and Castro looks like he’ll have 20+ home runs.  With run producers at every position in the infield, the Cubs can afford to have and, in fact, may benefit from a top-of-the order speedster in left.

The front office may be thinking along these lines as our source reports that the Cubs were well represented at the workout today and entered the workout very interested in Castillo.  Given the success of recent defectees Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu, expect the Cubs’ new financial flexibility to be tested here.

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  • I think the Cubs make a solid 4 year offer. From what I also read on Baseball America, too, he looked better in center from an arm standpoint but he takes better routes in right field. He can help today in the Cubs outfield. But at 27, the age is a concern going long term. 3 years $30-40???? Or would that be enough? Tough to tell about him.

  • Castillo & AA could make for an interesting too o

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    Yeah. Two guys with excellent speed and decent pop.

  • They could make for an interesting top of the lineup next season. How much payroll flexibility are we guessing they have? One notable SP(Lester or Shields) + one bat ( Castillo or Rasmus )? That'd probably be 30-35mil in additional salary ?

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    Is there a deadline to make an offer?

    Although we have more than enough bats coming up, it will be super interesting if we grab him.

  • Intetesting article. I like hearing about players you normally don't. When I read the title I was pumped but as you read the article about scouts concern or a fringe player. I got less excited but his speed sounds good for us. And at 27 will there be a adjustment period ?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:


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    At 10m per year on a three yr deal he'd be less expensive than a decent free agent outfielder.

  • John, did the scouts say anything about MLB readiness? Some of what I've read said he may need some time in the minors...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    He would only need time in the minor to knock off rust.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    That's encouraging.

    If he signs late in the year, do you think the AFL and spring training would be sufficient to get up to speed?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I think ST would be enough.

  • Speaking of outfielders, it's interesting that Hannemann has started both games today in CF for Daytona, and McKinney has started both games in RF. Hannemann has hit the ground running, so to speak (SB, 4-5 so far).

  • Speaking of outfielders, it's interesting that Hannemann has started both games today in CF for Daytona and that McKinney has been moved to RF. Hannemann has hit the ground running, so to speak.

  • In reply to markw:

    sorry for the double post.

  • from what I have heard he looks like a solid player and major league ready. His arm is is worst tool at 50 which can be fringe in CF but solid in LF. He show solid power for his size. He has plus plus speed and he looks like to be a solid OF.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Thanks Kevin.

  • I'm curious if BoniBAPIPio might be a better value both in terms of annual cost and veteran leadership... Unless this guy is more than a fringe bat/arm...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Boni is a sub player. Don't be fooled by his early season stats.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I know, but some think Castillo may end up there too... Given our dearth of prospects, he' going to the bench if Almora, Soler, and Schwarber all work out.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I was thinking of Schwarber as well with his projection in LF. Granted, Schwarber will not be coming up next year, or for a few years, but how much of an investment would you want to make in Castillo? If you can get by with a 3-year deal that could work, but I'm not sure that would be enough to beat other offers. He will most likely land a 4 or 5-year deal from somebody.

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    It seems to me that we could always trade someone for whatever we need if we have a big enough logjam in the outfield. Go get him, Theo!

  • we will see how desperate the yankees are.

  • IMO it would be nice to have him on a 2 year contract. Sounds like he could be a nice top of the order corner fielder. However, with all our prospects coming fast I don't know if there will be any room for him come 2016 or so, especially since it sounds like he can only play LF.

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    That isn't going to happen. He is going to have offers for 4 and 5 years, and isn't likely to take a 2 year contract.

    With a 4 year contract, he will be 31 in his free agency year. He shouldn't be difficult to trade if he has had a good career.

  • If we sign him or Tomas, 2015 is really looking more and more like a potential bust-out season!

  • I feel like I'd rather have Yasmani Tomas than this guy.

    He has 70 raw power (only second to Jose Abreu back in Cuba), is basically ready to start in the majors (maybe like Castillo just needs a tune-up in Triple-A or ST).

    It'd be interesting to see him and fellow country-man Soler manning the corner OF spots for years to come if it does come to fruition.

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Power is great but between Bryant, Soler, Baez, Schwarber, and Rizzo, we aren't lacking power. But speed is lacking.

    Maybe I take Toma's if the hit tool is better but I haven't read great things about that.

  • Dillon Maples with what might be the worst start of his career tonight:
    2 walks
    1 throwing error
    2 HPB
    2 Ks
    1 wild pitch
    1 fly out

  • Was reading some old Professor Parks chats and stumbled across this. Everyone deserves to see this again.

    padremurph (San Diego): Looking into your crystal ball, who's your AFL MVP?

    Jason Parks: Kris Bryant. When presented with the trophy, he will pull a baby goat from his uniform, slit its throat, drink its blood, vomit its blood, and then power drink himself to sleep while bitching about Javier Baez's prospect status. It will be perfect.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    That's beautiful.

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    Hell I say go after both of them hard. Only costs cash and if they both pan out then our prospects can be traded. We should certainly be in asset collection mode. The only guy in the minors that I give more than a 50/50 chance to be a key part of a division winning lineup is bryant. The rest all have their q marks. I would much rather spend 8-12 mil on Cubans in their prime than double that to Colby rasmus.

  • In reply to marcf:

    Or Castillo and Tomas can be traded. A couple of other posters mentioned short-term deals because of concern over blocking our prospects. As others have stated, not all our top prospects will make it. Agree that we should still be putting eggs in our basket, collecting assets. If our prospects come up and are better, then we trade whoever performs worse, with the caveat that Castillo and Tomas perform at a MLB-level.

    If the FO thinks that these two guys are upgrades over the upcoming FA OF crop, by all means, gett'ur done as long as the contract is "organizationally responsible".

  • In reply to marcf:

    I agree

  • Does signing either of these guys cost anything other than money?

  • What I am excited about is the Cubs can afford a risk like this. I'd love to sign Castillo on a 3 yr deal or Cuddyer or Josh Willingham to a 2 year deal, bring back Bonifacio on a 2 year deal, I think they will trade Ruggiano this deadline, sign Russell Martin to provide additional leadership, and I really think everyone is really getting too hung up on having an ace pitcher. Now I would love the Cubs to sign Lester or Scherzer but we are still a year away from probably making the playoffs. Don't mistake my comment as I don't want one of them but I think there will be a few desperate teams that make offers we won't beat. So option 1 try to sign one of them and if it does not work sign 2 of the following: Brett Anderson, Masterson, Morrow, Hammel, Gallardo, Liriano. I think Soler will win the RF job out of spring training and were are set to have a fun year. Call up Bryant in April and call up Baez in June unless he is willing to sign a deal. 2016 is the year we sign Price, Cueto, Latos, a big time pitcher that we throw out all the stops. But only the front office really knows what will happen.

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