The Cincinnati Reds will be activating Luis Castillo today and sending him to the mound tonight to open up their 3-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at 6:40pm ET. It couldn’t come at a better time, either, as Cincinnati’s rotation has been historically bad through the first month of the season.

When spring training was set to get started, Luis Castillo was the presumed #1 starter on the team. But soon thereafter he wasn’t pitching after having some shoulder soreness in Goodyear and he never pitched in a game during the Reds three weeks of games out in Arizona. For Castillo, he wouldn’t pitch in games at all until late April when he began a rehab stint in the minor leagues.

On April 24th he made his first appearance in High-A Daytton with the Dragons. His pitch count was in the 45-50 range on that afternoon. Luis Castillo struck out three batters in the first inning, working around a 1-out walk. He went 1-2-3 in the second inning despite a leadoff single (double play erased the runner) and he picked up another strikeout. But in the third inning he seemed to let things get away from him as he walked two batters and allowed a single while recording just one out before reaching his pitch count and exiting the game.

His next time out he moved up to Triple-A Louisville. Through the first three innings of the game he had allowed just two singles, walked no one, and he struck out five batters. But just like his first rehab outing, things started to get away from him in his final inning as his pitch count rose and after recording a ground out to begin the fourth, he walked three straight batters before exiting the game.

In his final outing, coming on Wednesday for Louisville in Indianapolis, Castillo had a pitch count to work with of 75 pitches. This time around there was no fading as the pitch count rose. The righty allowed just three hits and walked two batters in 4.1 innings while striking out seven batters and not allowing a run.

Not that the stats mean much of anything, but over his 10.1 rehab innings, Luis Castillo allowed just one run on seven hits. He did walk eight batters while also striking out 16. His velocity wasn’t quite as high as it usually is, sitting in the 93-95 MPH range, though he did touch higher at times.

Cincinnati’s starting pitchers have an ERA of 8.54. Opponents are hitting .316/.403/.562 against them this season – basically turning everyone into an MVP candidate at the plate. They are walking way too many hitters – 61 so far – and are just generally getting lit up. Castillo’s return will almost assuredly help bring those numbers down some, and hopefully kickstart some kind of rebound from one of the worst starts in Major League Baseball history.

36 Responses

  1. Private Gripweed

    Just in time to try and build up his trade value this summer

    – Bob probably.

    • Tom Reeves

      Very likely this is correct.

      There is no reason to attempt to salvage this season. This season had to be about preparing for 2023-2024 and beyond.

      Trading Castillo once his value has been reestablished is a smart move for future years.

      • Greenfield Red

        Does not matter who replaces Castillo and Mahle if he can get warmed up and build some value. 2022 is done. Stick a fork in it. Same with 2023.

        If they can get any real prospects in the 17-20 range for Pham, Moran, Farmer, ect they need to do it. What’s the difference between 100 losses and 120 losses? Either way, you are not going to the WS.

        The last rebuild was botched by bad timing of trades and requiring “major league ready” prospects in return. The Reds seem to have a lot of really good young prospects. Let’s add to those numbers.

      • Votto4life

        Tom would you mind expanding on your optimism for 2023-2024. I would love to know your views. Personally, I don’t see the Reds competing anytime in the near future, but would love to be convinced otherwise. Thank you.

      • MBS

        @Votto, 23 is the final year of Votto, Moustakes, Castillo, Mahle. Basically anyone who makes money will be gone by 24.

        In 24, Stephenson, and India will be 1st year Arb players. Senzel, Farmer, Sims, and Hoffman will also be Arb eligible. There will be almost no money on the roster. I’d guess somewhere in the 40 million range for an entire team, if they don’t add any FA. If we assume they are comfortable around the 120 M mark, we’d have up to 80 to spend on FA to fill in the holes.

        We should have locks to make the roster like Stephenson, India, Senzel, Barrero, Farmer, Greene, Lodolo, Sims, and Santillan. Warren, Morretta, Diaz are also probable to remain. Bringing the number to 12 current players probable to remain. Of corse, you could have several of Fraley, Schrock, Friedl, Gutierrez, Hoffman, Dunn, or others of that ilk, that could still be here.

        Then you have the position prospects that could be here by 24, McLain, De La Cruz, Torres, Hinds, Siani, Cerda. Let’s say half of those make it that’s 3 more position players, giving you a total of 8 position players.

        Looking at the pitching prospects we have Ashcraft, Williamson, Abbott, Bonnin, Boyle, Petty, Roa, and Phillips. If half of them make it, we’d have 8 position players, 11 pitchers, and about 80 million to fill in the holes.

    • Votto4life

      I actually don’t think Castillo or Mahle will be traded this summer. The Reds have caught a lot of grief for slashing payroll, Phil’s comments and the terrible start. Also, as Doc points out they will need to get innings from someone.

      I don’t think Castillo or Mahle will be dealt this summer. Maybe this winter. Maybe.

      • vegastypo

        Never know. I could see these guys dealing Castillo or Mahle as long as the other team takes Moose as well. Align that payroll, baby !!!

    • Votto4life

      MBS, I am not optimistic that the prospects playing well in A or AA will all blossom into major league players. I mean it wasn’t that long ago people were penciling in Robert Stephenson and Phillip Ervin as key. components of the next great Reds team. The truth is prospects early pan out. I think if one of three ends up contributing at the major league level, we will be very lucky. That is not even taking to account injuries.

      In terms of payroll reduction, that’s great for Bob Castellini, but I am not sure it does much for the team. Even if Big Bob was willing to spend the savings on the team, and that is a BIG IF, it’s going to be difficult for this team to attract quality free agents. I take that back, it was difficult 3 years ago, that’s why they had to overpay for Moose and give Nick Castellanos an opt out every year. It is going to be close to impossible now.

      I mean they will be able to sign the Tommy Phams and Mike Minors of the world, but good luck winning championships with that level of talent.

      • Votto4life

        I think you are also assuming Stephenson and India would want to sign an extension. I suspect a couple more season like this and they will be eager to bail.

  2. Mark Moore

    A win tonight in his first game back would be pretty sweet. It would at least be one of the cadre of monkeys off our backs.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Heck Mark, we don’t have a few monkeys on our backs! We’ve got the whole Zoo!

      • Mark Moore

        I know … but one off would still help.

        And I’m thinking it’s more like the entire primate exhibit … 😮

  3. Grand Salami

    All the Derek Johnson pitch whispering has been silent. Every facet of the team has been bad but the lack of progress from Starters is perhaps the worst element (since Vottos problems are limited to himself, a single player).

  4. JB WV

    Hopefully Castillo can pump out 5 strong innings and become what this group sorely needs, a leader.

    • Mark Moore

      5 would definitely help. 6 would be a huge boost. 4 or less is problematic on multiple fronts.

  5. Mark Moore

    I just checked the preview. Seems like a few of our guys do hit Woodruff on occasion. One of them is Farmer who, I’m thinking, won’t be doing that unless he’s magically out of his deep funk without any time off.

    It’s still a bit of a patchwork line-up no matter how you slice it. Hoping Mr. Moose continues to DH so we don’t have his glove (or lack of it) to deal with on the infield. Thinking TySteve should be finding level ground again. He looked good this weekend.

    The IL roster is still a major chink in our already weak armor. No denying that.

  6. Jeffery

    You have got to be kidding me…this team is about 10 years from contending….if then.

    • Doug Gray

      Who said anything about contending?

    • Greenfield Red

      Disagree. Look at the lower minors. I count 25 up to maybe 30 guys who can be big contributors in the majors within the next 4 years. Sure, many of them won’t pan out. But if 1 out of every 2 does, you have something. Add another 10 who can contribute in the same time frame, and get the same 1 out of 2 from them, and you actually have something that can compete for a WS not just the last wild card.

  7. old-school

    The next 3 months are huge for Castillo and the Reds. I hope he comes back and dominates May-July and is then sitting there as a home run SP trade deadline acquisition for a big market team ready to add big time Starting pitching for a stretch run.

    Jose Berrios had similar comps to Castillo when he was traded Jul30 2021 to Toronto by the Twins for Austin Martin- #16 overall prospect and #68 prospect SP Simeon Woods Richardson. That’s a heavy prospect price to pay.

    Looking at similar comps for 2022 and big market teams who might want a SP- look no further than the Giants who are going to need some re-inforcements against the Dodgers. They have an elite young bat in Marco Luciano who may slide to 3b or RF and ranked #13 overall plus a lefty pitcher Kyle Harrison ranked #73 by MLB for prospects.

    The Dodgers and Padres are loaded with prospects as well.

    Castillo could bring back (2) top 75 prospects and that would really help this franchise prepare for a 2024 run at the NL Central.

    • Doc

      With what rotation? Need pitching to make a run at the division and the current crop has not yet shown any indication it can either (1) stay healthy or (2) produce at the MlB level. Castillo is a top tier pitcher.

  8. SultanofSwaff

    Extend him. It’s the right baseball and PR decision.

    • Doc

      I agree. When you need pitching, trading away a top of rotation pitcher for a couple of prospects, one of who is not a pitcher in either suggested scenario, doesn’t seem to be a high probability of success. How many #73-75 ranked pitching prospects ever approach Castillo’s ability? There are risks with a multi year contract (Homer Bailey), but there are also risks prospects, many of whom never pan out.

      • old-school

        I like Castillo a lot and were the Reds in a playoff hunt this year and next…Absolutely- he’s your best pitcher. But 2024 is a long way away and we have no idea which veteran pitchers will be healthy and good in 2024 +( See Gray, Sonny; Miley, Wade; Bauer,Trevor).

        The Blue Jays signed Jose Berrios ( a close career comp profile to Castillo) to a 7 year $131 million contract through the 2028 season and Berrios is a year and a half younger than Castillo .

        Are you willing to sign Castillo through 2029 to a $130+ million contract ala Berrios? Castillo is 29 and turns 30 in December. Are you willing to commit $20 million per year NOW in the 2027/28/29 seasons for a guy in his age 34,35,and 36 seasons? Castillo is in his prime now. You don’t commit 9 figure sums for 7 years to players past their prime. You admit this year and next year aren’t championship windows and acquire more prospect capital( legit Top 75 guys- not 7th rounders) and add to the nucleus of players ready for a winning window in 2024.

      • Greenfield Red

        Agree completely Old School. There is a nice collection of talent from Dayton on down. Lower minors should win a lot of games this year. Trade away anyone not nailed down for more high end 17-20 y.o. to put with this group. If you get enough of them, you only need half of them to pan out to have a chance at the WS in 24, 25, and 26.

  9. Bill J

    Don’t know if anyone mentioned it but, has a nice story about Todd Frazier helping build a Field of Dreams area for handicap children &adults in Tom’s River, New Jersey.

    • Mark Moore

      Todd is a real stand-up kind of guy

  10. Kevin H

    Any updates on Votto and or Senzel?

    I haven’t seen any information. Just wondering if anyone has?

    • BK

      At the Athletic, C.Trent reported, both are better, but not expected back in the “next couple of days”

  11. old-school

    Bobby Nightengale reports Jose Barrero is playing defense in extended spring training games and hitting in the cage but not in games yet.

  12. Colorado Red

    I do not expect a good start for Louis.
    This is his first start of the season (a few innings in rehab do not build up arm strength ect)
    I do expect him to improve over the next few starts.
    It is a long season already

    Go Reds