As was reported on Sunday, over a hundred scouts showed up and were very impressed with the showcase by Cuban phenom Rusney Castillo on Saturday. Now the serious teams are making their moves for the corner outfielder.
Ben Badler of Baseball America has confirmed that the New York Yankees have scheduled a private workout with Castillo, joining the Phillies and the Red Sox who were the first two teams to schedule one-on-ones.
The Houston Astros, who have plenty of money to spend after failing to sign their first rounder, is also a serious suitor.
According to Walter Villa of Baseball America, Cuban defector Rusney Castillo wowed all 28 teams in attendance during his showcase on Saturday and impressed the over 100 scouts who were on hand.
The 27-year old outfielder worked out for two hours and 45 minutes at the University of Miami as teams came to catch a glimpse of what could be the next great thing out of Cuba. Castillo fielded flyballs in the outfield as well as grounders at shortstop.
BA says the most pleasantly surprising aspect of Castillo’s game was the power he showed and the ability to hit to the opposite field with authority.
Running: Castillo ran the 60-yard dash somewhere between 6.4 seconds and 6.5, depending on which scout you asked. Castillo gave a slight “deke” before he started his sprint, which threw off some stop-watches. Either way, though, Castillo is a plus runner by consensus of various scouts.
Throwing: Castillo started out in right field, fielding base hits and firing to third base. He then took base hits and threw home. All his throws were on a line and hit the mark on the fly or on one hop. “He has a 50 arm,” said one scout. “It’s an average big league arm. He could be used in all three outfield spots in a pinch, but his arm plays more like a left fielder.”
Batting Practice: Castillo showed a natural lift to his hacks, upper-cutting balls with force. After a few minutes in the cage, Castillo took three rounds of batting practice on the field. This is where he made his biggest impression. “After his second round of batting practice, I would have stopped right there because I didn’t think he could improve on that,” one scout said. “But he did.” Another scout was also impressed with his hitting. “I like him,” the scout said. “He’s a major league player.”
Live Batting: Castillo hit live against 6-foot-3 righthander Nate Carter, 22, who was 4-1, 1.54 with eight saves for Division II Florida Southern this past season. Carter was asked how well he thought Castillo did with his pitches. “He’s a great hitter,” Carter said. “I threw some fastballs at the knees on the outside corner, and he hit them over the fence or close to it.” Castillo took 16 cuts, missing two and fouling off eight. Of the six he hit fair, only one was a likely out, a couple of shots were off the wall and a couple went over the fence.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, scouts representing 11 MLB teams are flocking to Miami to watch free agent Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who has been said to be like “Brett Gardner with power.”
The Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Astros, Cubs, Braves, Giants, White Sox, Orioles and Marlins are all expected to be on hand Saturday at the University of Miami.
Castillo is short at 5’9″ but has a strong, athletic build. His speed is his calling card, and Baseball America says he is one of the best base stealers in Cuba and an aggressive, high-energy player with a line-drive stroke.
He profiles as a leadoff or number two-type hitter.