In a similar article to the one I talked about yesterday, Jim Bowden also broke down the 10 best starting pitchers that could be on the move leading up to the trade deadline, and he linked one of them to the Braves — Reds ace, Luis Castillo.
A few months before the season, you would have heard me clamoring for the Braves to trade for Luis Castillo. I absolutely love his repertoire, and last Sunday, he showed us why he will be so coveted at the trade deadline, tossing seven innings of one-run ball against a red-hot Braves lineup.
Castillo has some of the best overall stuff on the planet. This season, he’s boasting a fantastic 3.09 ERA, and he’s been even better as of late, posting a 2.65 ERA over his last nine starts. Throw in the fact that he will undoubtedly be the best starter traded at the deadline and also comes with an extra year of control after this season, and it will take an arm and a leg to acquire him.
But with the emergence of Kyle Wright and Spencer Strider, I no longer think trading for a starting pitcher is necessary. In fact, it would actually be a poor use of resources by the Braves, which is why I find it highly unlikely Alex Anthopoulos deals for one unless an injury or two occurs.
With that being said, if the Braves were to add a starting pitcher, it would be a frontline guy. There’s no need to bring in a veteran innings-eater type. The only reason Anthopoulos should look to trade for a starter is if he’s a game-changer, which Luis Castillo would be. Unfortunately, I don’t see the price being right for the Braves to pull the trigger.
Castillo is the most talented starting pitcher who could be traded by the deadline and he’s under team control through 2023, his final year of salary arbitration eligibility. He has posted a 3.33 ERA in eight starts, allowing just 35 hits in 46 innings with 43 strikeouts and 15 walks despite three of those games coming at Great American Small Park. Castillo’s fastball has been sitting 96 to 98 mph, and he throws an 88 mph changeup and an 87 mph slider. Opposing batters are hitting .107 against his four-seamer, .269 against his sinker, .180 against his changeup and .226 against his slider. His fastball velocity ranks in the 91st percentile. His chase rate ranks in the 63rd percentile and his hard-hit percentage is in the 68th percentile. Castillo could fetch the best prospect package of any player traded before Aug. 2.
Castillo’s numbers are even better now after he shut down the Braves over seven innings last Sunday. I’ve been pretty adamant on the Braves not going after a starting pitcher for a while now, and I’ve never felt more confident that they won’t. Their current rotation has been elite of late, and they don’t have many prospects left down on the farm. However, if they do go after a starting pitcher, Castillo is the only one that makes a shred of sense because of his upside and extra year of control.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire