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yeiper castilloRepeatedly this offseason, I’ve found myself discussing a minor Cubs signing – be it a minor league free agent or an undrafted free agent – with much more excitement than you’d typically associate with those kinds of deals. Maybe it’s the continued increase in available information, or the rose-colored tinge to my prospect-related glasses under the current regime, but it feels like the front office is picking up some nice high upside, no risk pieces – Dayan Diaz, Johermyn Chavez, Jesse Hodges, Matt Iannazzo, and others. (Of course, maybe it’s more of a statement of the state of the farm system before the new guys took over …. )

Well, add another to the list: 24-year-old Yeiper Castillo, whom the Cubs have signed to a minor league deal.

The front office is likely very familiar with Castillo, as he was a long-time Red Sox farmhand, having been signed out of Venezuela back in 2005. He worked his way up the Red Sox’s organizational ladder, putting up good numbers along the way, but stalled out in recent years at the A/High-A level. But then he had shoulder surgery two years ago, which wiped out his entire 2011 season. His comeback last year went decently – 3.60 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over 137.2 innings between A and High-A – but he was eligible for free agency after the year.

Of more note to the Cubs, probably, is how well Castillo pitched this Winter in Venezuela: 2.77 ERA, 30 K, 14 BB, and 39 innings. Interestingly, he pitched almost exclusively in relief (one and a half innings per appearance, on average) after being a starter the rest of his career. Maybe the Cubs saw something they liked about his ability in the pen. We’ll see what his role is this year.

There were reports in December that Castillo had signed with the Oakland A’s, so … I don’t know what to make of that. Perhaps he signed, and then had his contract nullified? Perhaps those reports were erroneous? Either way, he showed up on the Cubs’ transaction wire as having signed with the Cubs back in December, and is presently found on the Tennessee Smokies roster.

  • Patrick G

    lets hope he doesn’t have the yips

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      This is Lendys second cousin on his step fathers side twice removed. I’m sure blublood is going to sing the praises of this guy no doubt.

  • ncsujuri

    I gotta think the Cubs have the most guys with two Z’s in their last name in all of baseball…anyone want to find out if there are more than 3 in any other organization?

    • hardtop

      now ^that^ is advanced statistics my friend. bravo.

      • DarthHater

        New stat – Surnames With Zs: SWiZ

    • Spriggs

      While you’re at it, see if the Cubs also have the most surnames starting with C. Seems like they have a ton every year.

    • MXB

      Don’t forget about guys named Scott

      • DarthHater

        Scotts Above Replacement: ScAR

  • Big Daddy

    I just hope 1 or 2 of these guys work out. I like these low risk signings. Maybe we’ll find a Santana or David Ortiz in there somewhere.

  • mudge

    Or a David Ortizz.

  • jim

    We have roster room?

    • Cubbie Blues

      In the minors? Sure why wouldn’t we have room in AA? It’s not as if the system is busting at the seems with pitching.

  • hansman1982

    The question is:

    WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO RE-SIGN BEN KRYZCLINSKI!!!!

    • manshan1983

      Who?

      You must mean someone else, Cherington signed a guy who hadn’t pitched since high school and after one IL pro season working 93-95 topping 98. So that means that pitching arm is fresh like a rookie versus his age.

  • MightyBear

    How do you say his name? Is it Yeiper as in Viper or Yeiper as in Zipper? Or is it something else?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “Scott.”

      • Featherstone

        You Win.

  • Grant

    Speaking of the transaction wire, we’ve gotta be close to finding out of Lendy cleared waivers, no?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      10 days are up tomorrow evening, by my count.

      • Hansman1982

        I believe DFA’s and waivers operate on business days, no?

  • mudge

    Still waivering then.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    I hope we can keep Lendy! Needs a little polishing…i think a half a year at AAA with some quality starts he could be something

  • Die hard

    Cubs AAA team will be playoff contender

  • Ivy Walls

    a lot lightening strikes, odds increase with every one that one is lightening the bottle. Someone wrote that Theo/Hoyer are more and more on prospect find/development, meaning they keeping trying to get more talent and play the odds of more, so the can load up on FA astaways esp in the minors, along with choices and imports.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    I don’t think the Cubs will draft Appel, he’s from Houston..and was hoping the Astros would pick him last year, so it will come Down to Meadows or Manea?

    • Mick

      I could actually see the Astros drafting Appel this year but if they don’t, well, then, I guess we’d have to take a long, hard, gander. He’s the most polished college pitcher as of right now with electric stuff. He’s also the only guy with a good amount of scouting intel out there. Give the scouts 6 more months and who knows what will rise to the top. Manaea looks REALLY interesting but it’s hard to tell watching videos shot through a chain link fence. Do his pitches move, what’s his velocity, what pitches does he throw, what his command of his pitches, etc.? Where’s PitchFX when you need it?

      • Kevin

        A name to watch out for is Karsten Whitson from Fla. His draft stock fell to mid to late first rd, he has alot riding on this season. A great yr could push him back up to top few selections. 6′ 4” 225

        • Marc N

          Pitchers are scary enough without an injury history and conditioning issues.

          Whitson is definitely one of the best talents in the draft but a few things worry me.

          – He gained alot of weight in college and it led to some physical issues.

          – The worst third pitch of four major college arms.

          That said, I like the way he threw in the Cape so if he can carry that forward to a college season….

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    Also there’s this stud 3rd baseman that plays for the university of San Diego..i believe his last name Bryant…great 3rd base prospect and is almost major league ready! I know we need some help at 3rd unless Lake or Villanueva is ready asap..we can’t have another year of Stewart of last year

    • cedlandrum

      Bryant is a big dude who some don’t think will stay at 3rd, but there is some momentum that he could be average there. Plus hitter though. I have read though that he may move a little slower through the system because of a bit of a passive approach and he has struggled with the wood bat and offspead stuff.

      • cedlandrum

        I said stay, but in some ways it would be a move as it looks like he has played 1st quite a bit at San Diego.

  • Mick

    Who was the guy Arizona selected from the Cubs in the Rule 5 draft? If they can find room on their 40-man for him, you’ve got to think someone will find room for Lendy on theirs’. Also, how long are the Cubs going to wait before officially signing Scott Hariston? Is it going to be another Villanueva scenario or is it time to waive bye-bye to Campana?

  • 5412

    HI,

    Isn’t Boras Appel’s agent? The Cubs draft 20 kids, they want to sign all 20. the Pirates got screwed last year because Boras was throwing a hissy fit over the new salary structure. I hope the kid does not get drafted until the third round then maybe he will get a new agent.

    regards,
    5412

    • Tom A.

      Let’s hope he gets drafted high and paid an appropriate salary according to the new rules.

      I would love to see him as a Cub.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      That’s mean spirited. We’re talking about a kid here. Why wish misfortune on the kid?

    • Drew7

      If he’s at the top of their draft board and is still available, the Cubs should draft him.

      Impact talent is the very, very top of the MLB draft. Taking a lesser player with pick 1.2 to save money for later would be foolish.

      That said, nobody was talking about Coraea or Almora at this time last year. It’s pretty hard to tell who will rise and who will fall.

      • cedlandrum

        He doesn’t have any leverage now. He can’t go back to school. So you know they screwed the pooch.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    Mick the guy the DBacks took from us in the rule 5 draft was Starlin Peralta

    • cedlandrum

      I have a hard time believing they can keep Peralta all year, but then again he is at least as good as Lendy and we kept him.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Hopefully the difference will be the fact that the Diamondbacks are expecting to be in contention – the Cubs obviously weren’t.

        • cedlandrum

          You are hopefully correct as I like Starlin.

  • Kirbs414

    I must say, before I discovered BN, I used ESPN Chicago to get all of my Cubs info. Besides the coverage, it is so refreshing to be able to come on BN and see a comment section full of people with respectful opinions and thoughtful insights. I always used to read through the comments on the ESPN cite, and people were always saying crap just to try and start fights like 12 year old kids on the playground. Thanks Brett for a great cite and great Cubs coverage, and also thank you to the fans and followers who are able to contribute to mature conversations about baseball in the comment section.

    • Tom A.

      Agree. I would say that 90% or more of the comments written here in BN are worth reading. Spread the word and let’s get even more intelligent Cubs fans (sorry for the use of redundant words in intelligent and Cubs fans) to participate in the discussions !

  • BluBlud

    Aye Westbound Willie, Why the hell are you so infatuated with me dude? I’m starting to get nervous. Do you a man crush on me or something? Is this like kindergarden where you act like you don’t like the person because you really have a crush on them or what? I made your comment up top and I didn’t even post on the article until now. You are starting to freak me out dude.

    By the way, cool signing. No risk. I actually see a little upside here. Maybe he becomes a decent bullpen arm who can long relieve or something. If not, then oh well, just another minor league filler.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Pipe Dream: If Karsten Whitson RHP falls to us with the 40’s, 2nd round pick due to injury concerns or ineffectiveness, all I have to say is wow what a steal! But realistic me says its never going to happen, the most he’ll fall to is mid 1st round and at the very worst bottom 1st round. He is definitely one of the most talented pitchers in this years draft.

    • cedlandrum

      That would be a huge fall for him and a then his risk of not signing at number 9 in 2010 seems like a bad move. I mean it probably was anyway because of the firm pool now. I agree though it would be cool.

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