Cuban RHP Wilton Castillo signs with Padres

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Credit: Padres DSL

The San Diego Padres reportedly signed 20-year-old RHP Wilton Castillo to a contract. 

A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres are no stranger to the international market.

Over the G.M.’s reign in San Diego, the Padres completely remodeled their farm system at the lower levels. The team is utilizing its compound in the Dominican Republic and starting to get the most out of the younger talent in the franchise.

This week, the Padres signed Wilton Castillo, a 20-year-old and blessed with some decent upside.

The tall, right-handed pitcher is not considered a top international prospect, but there is a lot to like about his ability.

Scouts in Cuba indicate that if he can gain 20-30 pounds to his frame, Castillo has the arm speed to top out in the upper 90’s and potentially be a pitcher to reach triple-digits with his fastball. The stellar fastball will play in the minors, but it is unclear if the right-hander can further his development.

Castillo left Cuba in 2019 and stands 6-foot-8 on the mound.

The native of Havana has plenty of fellow Cuban pitchers on the Padres’ roster to help mentor him of sorts. Adrian Morejon, Michel Baez, and Ronald Bolanos all have major league experience and will surely be a factor in this pitcher’s growth. Baez, in particular, could be a huge help as the two hurlers have a similar frame.

Take a look at this video of Castillo working to some hitters.

There are a lot of moving parts to his pitching motion, but that is expected when you are so young and stand 6-foot-8. The Padres will likely try to quiet his mechanics and get him on a program to gain weight. Some pitchers have issues with weight, and that seems to be the primary concern with this hurler. Only time will tell in this regard.

In the video, he showcases a decent slider/curve with tilt. There also looked to be a few changeups mixed in his sequence. If he can utilize three pitches, there is a chance he pitches out of the starting rotation to start his career. Castillo has a high ceiling, but there is also a low floor with this Cuban pitcher as well. In time, he could prove to be serviceable, but there remains a long road ahead for this pitcher. At 20, he is not a young prospect, so you can expect the Padres to be aggressive with his growth.

The Padres have shown a propensity to challenge older prospects who signed on the international market. Castillo is an interesting pitcher to monitor in the next 12 months.

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