About a week ago there was hot rumor going around that the New York Yankees were close to acquiring fireballing Cincinnati Reds starter Luis Castillo. What made the rumor so believable is that it was a classic Yankee move in terms of picking up a high upside young player from a small market club and with their rotation in major need of help, it made sense Castillo could be the guy to fill that void. Alas, the rumor was nothing but that and Castillo remains a Red operating in a major home run ballpark. Despite the offensive leanings of the park, Castillo is a no doubt top ten fantasy baseball ace who goes into the 2021 season in his early prime years at the age of 28. With four seasons of MLB experience under his belt, Castillo has now logged an ERA under 3.50 in four of them which included last season's numbers:
Again like all players, it was a small sample size but these numbers look close to the 3.40 ERA and 10.67 K/9 from 2019. Both categories came in with very impressive results and Castillo's ability to miss bats at a very high clip places him firmly in that fantasy baseball ace tier. Add in some solid durability and Castillo seems quite safe in terms of investment for 2021. What really makes Castillo stand out as well is his extreme velocity as he averaged a ridiculous 97.7 on his fastball last season which went a long way in piling up the K's. While Castillo's control is not overly smooth, his 3.09 BB/9 last season was far from terrible. If Castillo improves that number even more when combined with all the K's, we could be looking at top five starting pitching value instead of top ten here.
In the end, Luis Castillo represents some terrific value in terms of him being a more affordable starter who also qualified as an ace for fantasy baseball. He certainly won't cost what a Jacob DeGrom or Gerrit Cole would and so those who want to spend a bit less on their first pitcher can certainly look in this guy's direction.
2021 PROJECTION: 14-10 3.23 ERA 1.20 WHIP 215 K