Name: Diego Castillo
DOB: October 28, 1997
Batting and Power. With a quick and compact stroke, really good pitch recognition and above average patience, and not only a willingness to use the whole field but a plan to take whatever the pitchers give him, Castillo shows all the earmarks of an eventual high-average hitter someday and his .304 average thus far two years into his career is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. While all the physical tools are present to hit for good averages, it's his chess-like mind and mature approach that allows his entire hitting game to flourish at a very young age. He knows how to out-think the pitchers. He's not physically imposing though, standing just 6-foot-0, so the power potential is limited to average at best [and most likely slightly below average] long-term. However, he can put a charge into the baseball and shows excellent power in the gaps so while the home run production will most likely cap out in the low double-digits down the road there is a very good chance he could still develop into a high extra-base hitter.
Base Running and Speed. Castillo is more nimble than quick and more 'heady' than fast so what he lacks in pure physical speed he makes up with advanced intelligence on the base paths. He still has the wheels to be a solid double-digit base stealer once he learns the nuances of the running game but his bigger impact will be as a station to station runner, one who knows when to run and take the extra base in various situations. He has the ability to create a few more runs than most and it's because of his feel for the game.
Defense. Just like in the running game it's Castillo's rather average physical tools that should limit his long-term potential defensively but all bets could be off when his ultra-high makeup and intelligence are factored in as well. A little Derek Jeter-like in that regard, Castillo gets to a few more balls because of his excellent positioning pre-pitch more than natural range. He has average arm strength too, perhaps a tick above average, limiting his long-term value more to the middle infield. Some scouts believe he is better served playing second base since his physicality and athleticism can get overshadowed by many at the shortstop position and he has begun seeing some time there as well, and the early returns have been positive. He's solid to above average at both middle infield spots, and the high intelligence will allow him to make the plus plays at times. He has real value in the field.
Projection. With average at best power potential and average at best speed Castillo gets lost in the discussion of high-ceiling prospects tools-wise but there is so much more to the game than pure physicality and it's on the mental side of the game where Castillo is a true standout. A born winner and leader, he exudes intangibles on the field and it allows his rather average tools to play a level or two higher on a consistent level. In fact, consistency is often the least talked about sixth tool and Castillo has that in spades. And with a tailor made inside-out swing heightened by an advanced center-to-opposite field approach that all spells long-term, high-average hitting, Castillo has the potential to be one of the more consistent performers on both sides of the ball. He gets a lot of Derek Jeter comparisons style-wise thrown his way and it's for all of the aforementioned reasons as well as what should be average defensive ability that also plays at a higher level. Getting stronger to better handle the physical demands of a long-season are what's needed to help fulfill his potential which at minimum should be an eventual reserve player but one with legitimate big league starting potential.
ETA. N/A. Castillo just turned 19 years old this offseason and still hasn't played under the lights. The Yankees will want to expose him to that in 2017 so he seems most likely ticketed for the short-season leagues after Extended Spring Training, with Pulaski his most likely destination.