Earlier today, with just minutes remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline arrived, Billy Eppler pulled the trigger on a couple deals that saw Halos arms shipped out and some new arms shipped in. One of those deals was for class act 8th inning man, Joe “My Kind of Party” Smith, who was sent to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for 20 year old RHP Jesus Castillo.
We all know what we’re going to miss in Joe Smith...for better or worse...but what does the Angels’ haul portend? Who is this Jesus Castillo, anyway?
Jesus Castillo, as a young teenager in the Dominican Republic, signed his first deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011. He was the Diamondback’s most expensive amateur signing that year, which told many that they had high hopes for the righty.
Cut to two years later; it’s 2013 and Theo Epstein is in control of the Chicago Cubs. Epstein trades Cubs OF Tony Campana to the Diamondbacks in exchange for a couple 17 year old pitchers from the DR, and yep, one of them was Jesus Castillo.
The now-20 year old Castillo has progressed more or less how the Cubs had hoped, but he’s still quite a ways off. He’s currently in his first year at low A ball (Eugene Emeralds) but had been sporting a 3.27 ERA, with 38 Ks in 33 IP. He’s 6’2, about 165 lbs and has a frame, makeup and tools of a future strikeout specialist. Hopefully.
Baseball America’s Ben Badler, never the slouch when it comes to evaluating prospects, said this about Jesus Castillo:
He threw in the mid-80s when he signed, but he now touches the low 90s and has a good changeup for his age, though his breaking ball is still a work in progress.
Another great eye for talent, Scout.com’s Taylor Blake Ward, said similarly positive remarks:
Jesus Castillo, picked up in Joe Smith trade; FB 89-93, + CH w/ action, inconsistent CV; easy free and easy repeatable delivery #Angels— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 1, 2016
I think this is a pretty good trade for Joe Smith, especially when considering the Angels are off the hook for the rest of Joe Smith’s salary now (as The Orange Curtain astutely points out here). Smith was already losing out on his 8th inning spot to upstart Cam Bedrosian, and he was hitting free agency come winter.
So they dealt the Smith for some slight salary relief, and a 20 year old prospect arm that may not have made an impact in the stacked Cubs system, but will surely get plenty of looks on the brittle Angels’ farm. Who knows? Castillo may even automatically crack the top 30 Halos prospects right out of the gate.
All in all, solid move by Eppler here, and I’m giving it the Mayhem seal of Modest to Excited Approval.