According to an Instagram post from Yankees international scout Roney Calderon Jr., infielder Diego Castillo will be on the Pirates Opening Day 28-man roster. Calderon was the scout who signed Castillo as an amateur free agent in 2014.
Castillo has had a strong spring training for the Bucs in 2021, slashing .321/.355/.857 with a team-leading five homers and 10 runs driven in through 12 games. His home run and RBI marks are both good for third-best in all of spring training. Castillo is capable of playing second, short and third base and even appeared in the outfield in Sunday’s spring training game against the Rays.
The Pirates acquired Castillo along with Hoy Park from the Yankees last July in exchange for Clay Holmes. The 24-year-old had a breakout year of sorts offensively in 2021. Between Double-A and a late season promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis, Castillo hit .278 with an .843 OPS in 105 games. He hit 19 homers and showed solid bat-to-ball skills, only striking out 55 times.
Castillo ranks as the 21st-best prospect on MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Pirates prospects list. He is rated as a slightly below-average defender. His strong contact skills help to build his offensive profile, and his power has emerged over the last season to where it can play a larger role for him than previously expected.
The Pirates faced criticism from some after sending top prospect Oneil Cruz to Triple-A to begin the season, but will give Castillo the opportunity to begin the year in Pittsburgh. Castillo projects to get the bulk of his time at second base, and is capable of backing up Ke’Bryan Hayes at third and can fill in at short when needed. He may even work his way into the outfield mix from time to time as the Bucs are trying to add some versatility to his game.