Every team in the league has a pressing need for starting pitchers. When it works out, however, discovering your team’s ace can be a life-changing experience. In 2022, Luis Castillo will be the Reds’ ace, and he has become one of the best pitchers in the game. The Reds have recently been rumoured to be trading him in a variety of trades. Even though Cincinnati is “rebuilding,” they should keep him. He may be a gimmick, but I can’t bear to part with him.
Castillo is by far the most experienced starter for the Reds. Castillo. Reds youngsters Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft will make up their rotation in 2022. With Castillo’s influence on the next generation of players, having an ace of his calibre on your team is priceless. Castillo has grown into one of the top young pitchers in baseball since his debut in 2017. A career 3.62 ERA and 852 strikeouts in 785 innings in his first four professional seasons speak for itself. He was selected for his second All-Star team this year.
Castillo’s tenure would be prolonged if he were given a substantial raise. It would help the team’s young pitchers by retaining an established ace and allowing them to learn from an experienced mentor. Giving him the boot would impede the development of the team’s young pitchers as well.
Dirty, Rotten, Filthy, Stinky
Although Luis Castillo is described as “all of the adjectives you see above,” we don’t know whether or not he’s ever heard of Warrant, an eighties rock band. Castillo has heard, though, that he is one of the most vicious pitchers in the game. According to Baseball Savant, he may be the worst. He has a four-pitch arsenal, two of which are among the best in the game. His fastball is capable of reaching the upper 90s with ease. He’s already cooking with gas with that and a sinker in the mix. Add in a wipeout slider and a devastating changeup, and you have a starting pitcher like Pedro Martinez.
Baseball Savant provides a detailed picture of Luis Castillo’s performance. His fastball in 2022 alone has a 39.8 per cent whiff rate, which means he’s blowing it right by anyone who dares to stand in the batting cage.
Then there’s the switch we talked about. 29.7 per cent whiff rate and 32.1 inches of drop are his stats for the season. That’s a tough one to hit after a batting average close to triple digits. Even the best hitters in baseball have been blown away by his changeups. This year, the same pitch is offering a 21.6 per cent strikeout rate.
Proven, Able Bodied Ace
For the most part, Luis Castillo has been injury-free during his time with the Reds despite a few minor hiccups. Castillo has started at least 30 games in each of his first four seasons, except the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. He quickly advanced through the ranks of the organisation after he learnt the ropes. As a result, the league surrounding him has also improved. The Reds would benefit greatly from keeping him around, and he would benefit greatly from knowing that he will be able to continue pitching for the team that signed him. The nickname “La Piedra” wasn’t given to him by accident. For the Reds, he truly is the foundation of this rotation.
Even though Castillo will seek a substantial fee, the Reds should be willing to pay it. To date, he has earned $7.35 million in his second-to-last season as an arbitrator eligible. To keep him in his prime, a contract extension for Castillo would be ideal for both the Reds and the player. In light of the Reds’ history of overpaying for top starters, they must learn from the Johnny Cueto fiasco. Homer Bailey was given a five-year, $106 million contract instead of Cueto, who had been one of baseball’s top pitchers for years. To avoid a repeat of the mistakes of the past, the Reds should offer Luis Castillo a contract of this nature. The Reds would be able to retain a bona fide ace and fan favourite if they offered him a significant raise in salary.
Only time will tell if the Reds will be able to keep Luis Castillo after the August 2nd trade deadline. If they don’t, it’s possible they got a load for him, but that’s just a hunch. It’s all we can do to enjoy the time we have left with our ace, Luis Castillo, other than sitting back and relaxing.
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