As of yesterday afternoon, the Reds and the Marlins both officially announced that the Marlins will receive Dan Straily for Luis Castillo, Austin Brice, and Isaiah White. A lot of opinions have been flying around on who won and who lost the trade, so let’s take a closer look on who the Fish gave up.
Luis Castillo (24 YO) – 6’2” 170, RHP
Castillo is without a doubt the headliner of the trade as a concessions top 5 prospect in a shallow Miami farm system. Despite that, this is not the first time the Fish have tried to deal him. After failing to stay San Diego after the Andrew Cashner/Colin Rea debacle last year, Castillo returned and impressed in Jupiter and earned a promotion to AA to end the year.
Castillo has a three pitch mix, pairing an above-average slider and a developing changeup with a fastball that sits 96-97 and routinely touches 100. His changeup is a recently added work in progress and was originally added as an out-pitch to have against lefties. There have been praises on his smooth arm action in his delivery leading to his easy velocity, leading some to believe the changeup can develop into a third plus pitch.
His minor league peripherals may not seem as stellar as his pitch repertoire, though. Castillo produced an uninspiring 6.82 K/9 in A+ between 2015 and 2016. His 1.79 BB/9 walk rate in Jupiter and strong GB%, which hovered around 50% last year, has helped forge him into a legitimate starting prospect. If Castillo can develop an average changeup while creating more swings and misses, look for him in the Reds rotation in the next couple years.
Ceiling: Middle-of-the-rotation starter
Floor: Righty specialist out of the pen
Austin Brice (24 YO) – 6’4” 235, RHP
Austin is an interesting addition to this trade. He is a fringe top-10 prospect who has shown the ability to produce strong strikeout rates, proven by his 8.49 career K/9. Control has been an issue for him until last year, when Brice cut his AA walk rate from 4.95 BB/9 in 2015 to much more respectable 2.80 BB/9 in 2016. This gave the Marlins cause to promote him to his MLB debut, albeit for a brief 14 IP where he allowed 11 earned runs while striking out 14.
He pairs a low-mid 90s fastball with an above average curveball and a slider that also projects as a plus pitch. His poor control and lack of an out-pitch for lefties probably means Brice is destined to a permanent relief role, although that is not much of a problem for a dismal Reds bullpen.
Ceiling: Back-end reliever
Floor: AAAA reliever
Isaiah White (20 YO) – 6’0” 170, OF, Throws: R/Bats: R
Many people see Isaiah as a throw-in lottery ticket. He was a third round draft pick by the Marlins back in 2015, seen as a very raw athlete with plus-plus speed. The natural athleticism gives him the potential to be a quality center field defender, despite having a below-average arm. The main concern with White was whether or not he could hit advanced pitching, since he did not see a lot of quality pitching as an amateur. As to this point in his minor league career, he has not.
White has posted a miserable 31.2% K rate in his 333 professional plate appearances. He showed other signs of stalling last year in Greensboro, slashing .214/.306/.301 in his 201 plate appearances, resulting in an offensive production around 12% below league average. Coaches have praised him for his glove-work, and at 20 years old he has plenty of time to develop. However, I see him more as a poor-man’s Billy Hamilton, except Billy never reached the ghastly 30% plus K% club in his career.
Ceiling: Defensively-based center fielder
Floor: Can’t hit, doesn’t touch the majors