After losing four pitchers in the minor league Rule 5 draft Wednesday, the KC Royals made a move in the opposite direction by signing infielder Ivan Castillo (Twitter link).
Castillo signed a minor league contract. He’s been a professional since 2012 but made it to the majors for the first time in 2021. The Padres, for whom he was playing at Triple-A El Paso, called him up in early May. He had a single and an RBI in three at-bats before San Diego sent him back to the minors.
Castillo first signed on with Cleveland as an international free agent and spent a season in the Dominican Summer League and another in rookie ball before advancing to Low-A in 2014 where he hit .260 before moving up to High-A and batting .249 in 2015. He hit only five home runs in his first three minor league stops.
In 2016, his lack of power continued to show when he slashed a combined .192/.233./.268 with a .501 OPS, three home runs and 36 RBIs across High-A, Double-A and Triple-A.
In 2017, Castillo went back to High-A before being promoted to Double-A and notched an improved .267/.341/.354 slash. But Cleveland didn’t protect him for Rule 5 draft purposes and Toronto snatched him up. He hit .304/.345/.448 with five home runs and 44 RBIs in 108 games with the Blue Jays’ High-A affiliate before electing free agency at the end of the season.
He signed with the San Diego organization and spent two years there. He hit .313 with a .347 OBP at Double-A Amarillo in 2019, then .287 with three homers at Triple-A El Paso last season. Castillo also stole 12 bases and drew 26 walks for the Chihuahuas.
He elected free agency last month.
Currently, Castillo is spending time in the Dominican playing winter ball with the Leones Des Escogido. He’s slashed .222/.311/.222 with three RBIs and four stolen bases in 16 games so far.
What can the KC Royals expect from new infielder Ivan Castillo in 2022?
Although Castillo’s minor league average of .266 is certainly serviceable, he’s not a power hitter. He does, however, display defensive prowess, a trait the Royals invest in heavily.
Castillo bounced around the infield in the minor leagues and played 453 games at shortstop before playing the majority of his games at second base at El Paso in 2021. He notched a .977 fielding percentage at second base last season to go along with 143 assists, 34 double plays turned, and just six errors in 459.2 innings. At third base, he had a .973 fielding percentage, 55 assists, 73 putouts, and just two errors in 287.1 innings.
Will Castillo crack a loaded Kansas City starting infield? No. Look for him to spend his time at Triple-A Omaha next season.
The Royals have signed minor league infielder Ivan Castillo.