Sep 21, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielderRusney Castillo
(38) at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
The 27-year-old native of Ciego de Avila, Cuba is the man at the top of the official Boston Red Sox depth chart for center field. That is, for the moment, anyways.
Castillo signed last season as an amateur free agent, and will be making another $71.6 million until 2020. It is hard to see the Red Sox not wanting an immediate return on their investment, especially since he could opt out of the contract in 2019, giving them only a four-year window of guaranteed service.
In the 10 games Castillo played for the Red Sox, the righty recorded two home runs and six RBIs, in 36 at-bats. His batting average was .333, with an on-base percentage of .400 and a .528 slugging percentage. Castillo even had three stolen bases. Granted, these totals come from a very small sample-size, but the power and speed that he possesses makes Castillo potentially one of the best players in the game at the position, offensively.
Defensively, there also is not much to report, while potential abounds. Castillo was given a perfect 1.000 rating in the short amount of time he played center field, while the league fielding average was .989. His range was calculated per game at 3.20, while, again, leading over the league average at 2.69.
Castillo definitely impressed quickly before and after he was signed by Boston, but he could also be impressing another potential phenom. The Red Sox are one of a couple big-money teams linked to Yoan Moncada, the 19-year-old from Abreus, Cuba, whom hits from both sides of the plate with power. He plays the infield so well, Moncada made these MLB teams blush when they brought him in for workouts:
Boston’s ace up their sleeve to beat out the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers is Castillo. He has lots of baseball experience, even as an amateur, who can speak Moncada’s language and knows what the young man will be going through. The transition from living in Cuba to thriving in the United States can be a difficult one for young Cuban men, as seen recently from players like Yasiel Puig. Castillo is three years older than Puig and has not found himself in uncomfortable situations with his team or the American media.
Castillo can help Moncada through the tough times, being away from family and friends, while mentoring him through the process from the minors to the major leagues. If he can be the lure that lands the potential phenom, Boston would have two top Cuban players for at least the next four years. If Castillo is happy with his situation in Boston, by starting in center field, the process would be much smoother for everyone.