The Top 20 Cubs Prospects - #3 Welington Castillo
Brought to you by The Best Team Ever: A Novel of America, Chicago, and the 1907 Chicago Cubs (read Kurt's review here, read Rob's review here, and buy the book for somebody for Christmas!)
Prospect #3 Welington Castillo
Let me see if I get this straight. For the better part of 60 years, the Cubs were high and dry looking for a catcher. They had a few blips here and there in Randy Hundley, Jody Davis, and Michael Barrett, but the reality of it is that the Cubs have had temporary solutions to the catcher's position for a long, long time.
Then, Geovany Soto rolls in and takes baseball by storm. We're talking a guy who may be The Next Big Thing at catcher, not just on the Cubs but in baseball. And what do the Cubs do in response? They develop Welington Castillo - another catcher with great potential who falls in as the 3rd best prospect in the team's system right now.
Unlike Soto, Castillo doesn't drive the ball, but he is immensely gifted defensively, and he has a great reputation with his pitchers. He threw out 37% of runners last year, and while he had his first taste of Iowa, he spent most of the year at AA where he batted .298 with an OBP of .362 while hitting 4 homers and driving in 24 RBI.
More details about what Welly brings to the game:
- Average power. He hit 11 homeruns in 2007, but in 673 minor league at bats he only has 15.
- Average contact. Will never win a batting title in the Majors.
- Minus discipline. Only 43 walks in his 673 career at bats, but again, not a biggie as a catcher.
- Plus defense. Can handle the ball and the pitcher while behind the plate.
I'm pretty sure that Castillo is the guy that Colin cited as being a potential replacement for Henry Blanco as backup catcher. It's not a bad idea, although it's probably a little too soon. However, realistically Castillo's best value might be via the trade - if he becomes a capable major leaguer, he might have a lot of value somewhere.
Regardless, don't be shocked to see the 21-year-old make his debut with the Cubs toward the tail-end of 2009. He's yet to prove himself at Iowa, but considering that defense reigns supreme for catchers anyway, Welington Castillo may be a solid lock to play in the Majors.
Odds of reaching the Majors = Me nicknaming him "Welly" and calling him that until it sticks
Odds of becoming a successful player at the Major League Level = Carlos Zambrano manages not to break a bat over his knee all year long
This article brought to you by The Best Team Ever: A Novel About the 1907 Chicago Cubs. Buy the book here and save $4