Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who defected from Cuba last year, will hold a showcase for interested teams at the University of Miami on July 26.
The 5’9″, 185 pound Castillo has spent the majority of his career in center field, and has also gotten some exposure in right field.
Scouts don’t expect Castillo to be an immediate impact player along the lines of Yoenis Cespedes or Jose Abreu, but several scouts who have seen Castillo before he left and since he has been in the Dominican Republic have been impressed, though there’s a split on whether he profiles as an everyday player or a fourth outfielder.
At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Castillo has good strength for his relatively short stature and is an athletic player whose best tool is his plus-plus speed. He was one of the better base stealers in Cuba, going 22-for-29 in steals in 2011-12 to rank third in the league in stolen bases, one year after leading the league with 29 bags in 35 attempts.
Castillo can sting the ball from the right side of the plate, projecting as a line-drive bat who hits a lot of doubles and triples rather than home runs. He’s an aggressive hitter with good bat speed, though his swing can get long at times and he will expand his strike zone.
Castillo will be appealing to a number of major league teams, but he doesn’t sound like a player the Mets should be fawning over.
With Juan Lagares entrenched in center field and Brandon Nimmo – another center fielder – perhaps a year away from his major league debut – the Mets really don’t have a need for a player with Castillo’s skill set.
Castillo’s plus-plus speed makes him interesting, but the position he plays and his relative lack of power makes him someone who likely isn’t a fit for the Mets at this point in time.
If the Mets are going to dabble in the Cuban market, it would make more sense for them to be involved with corner outfielder Yasmani Tomas.
Tomas, 23, recently defected and has prodigious power. He’ll likely be available to sign during the offseason.